Friday, March 11, 2011

The Cave of Wonders

You will wish you were here! Day two of the cave had a few exciting discoveries... as well as a couple of newly created set-backs. Because our sonar was out of commission the first visit, we spent all of Thursday repairing and splicing the tether that caused the problem. Today, we finally had a chance to map the cave and the wonders contained within its depths.

The newly repaired tether worked like a charm as we mapped the surface of the first pool in the cave. We also mapped varying depths at multiple locations in the cave that we hope to "paste" together. This will hopefully be enough data to completely represent the water within the pool in the cave. In addition to horizontal scans with the sonar, we ran a couple of lengths in the pool with the sonar strapped vertically to the ROV. This will provide us with two sets of dimensions to log the depth of the pool. We used this method primarily to make up for our faulty depth sensor in the ROV's control box.

After mapping the pool, I drove the ROV around to get some close up video of the sides and bottom of the pool. I found a lot of interesting things... a couple of tires and oil bins, plenty of rubble, bottles, and occasional sections of wood. One particular piece of wood had a community of water creatures... either miniature crawdads or a type of shrimp. It was pretty cool!

Unfortunately, our repaired cable suddenly failed and we lost driving ability for the robot. We switched to our other tether, but that one didn't connect sonar, so we only did visualizations from then on.

All in all, the cave was very exciting. I only wish I had my scuba gear to dive down in it!

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