Iceberg! Dead ahead!
Jan 2015, Arjun Chennu
The last few months have been somewhat mysterious. What had happened to hypersub? We deployed it at 17m depth up in the Arctic back in september (see previous article) and since confirmed remote access to it over the internet. However, after a few weeks of regular operation, suddenly the system was malfunctioning. The cameras were facing the wrong way. The motor would not move. The seafloor seemed to have risen? Something was out of whack.
Last week, we had the fortune to have some colleagues from the Norwegian Polar Institute who went diving close to the hypersub site, and agreed to survey the state of our system. Here are some of the pictures we received.
Yes, “out of whack” would be a fair assessment. The hypersub frame looks to be completely compromised. The metal cross-beams that connect the various parts of the frame have just snapped. The strong poly-fiber frame members have ripped through. It looks like one side of the frame has just been crushed down. This is, almost surely, the work of a sneaky iceberg. An iceberg that picked from all the entire bay just the spot where hypersub was deployed. Although we reinforced our system, it could not survive a close encounter with an iceberg. Surprisingly, the cable that holds the system and the electronics themselves seem to have mostly survived. The over-winter measurements look to be a shaky tale currently.
More updates to follow.