Final Test for RU26D before summer vacation!

RU26 had one final test before she heads to a southern hemisphere summer vacation! The test focused on the glider’s altimeter. The altimeter is a very important part of the glider.  It uses short sound pulses to measure the distance between the glider and solid objects, like the sea floor!  Without the altimeter the glider in the Ross Sea risks hitting the seafloor or large ice fragments that may be just ahead.   In the weeks before the glider shipped we repaired the altimeter and we needed to get the glider back in the ocean to make sure our repairs were successful. The waters off the coast of California were prefect for this. We have great partners at Cal Poly whose experience and access to the ocean was a great help!

During the trial we sent the glider on several dives to make sure that it saw the seafloor.  The first dive went to a depth just above the seafloor.  During the second dive we told the glider to head down until it saw the seafloor and then turn back toward the surface.   This was an important dive.    The seafloor of the Ross Sea has a lot of ridges and valleys.  It is critical to the success of the glider mission that it has the tools to avoid these bottom features.

Both dives completed as we hoped.   In each one, the glider saw the bottom and turned back toward the surface!  After passing with flying colors, RU26D is ready for the Ross Sea.  In less than a month, the Rutgers and Teledyne Webb Research team will meet the glider on station and complete final preparation before it’s mission in the cold waters of the Ross Sea.

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About Josh Kohut

Josh is an Assistant Professor of physical oceanography in the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

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