The ROV team, SN scientists and engineers, and UW students gather in the operations laboratory aboard the R/V Thompson during Dive 1605 to Southern Hydrate Ridge during the VISIONS'13 Expedition.
Photo Credit. Mitch Elend, University of Washington.
This 60-m extension cable will soon host a high-definition video camera to be deployed at the Mushroom hydrothermal vent (far left). White microbial mats along narrow fractures in the lobate lava flows mark areas where low-temperature diffuse hydrothermal fluids issue from the seafloor. The 7-function manipulator arms of the Canadian ROV ROPOS gently place the wet-mate connector holding plate on the seafloor. VISIONS '13 Leg 4
Photo credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF.
The Canadian remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called ROPOS is a robotic vehicle used during the UW-OOI-NSF VISIONS'14 expedition to install much of the Secondary Infrastructure (e.g., instruments, junction boxes, extension cables). For this expedition ROPOS will be configured to work at depths of up to 3000 m. The vehicle is tethered to the R/V Thompson (operated by the University of Washington as part of the UNOLS fleet) by a fiber-optic cable that allows real-time communication to and from the ship and the ROV, as well as providing power to the ROV.
During the OOI-RSN VISIONS '14 dives, ROPOS operations will require three ROV people: a pilot (who operates the vehicle controls); a co-pilot (who monitors the winch that pays in and hauls out the fiber-optic cable attached to ROPOS and who operates the second manipulator arm); and a navigator (who is responsible for making sure the ship and vehicle are in the desired positions).
A team of three scientists and engineers typically stands watches in the ROV control room alongside the ROPOS crew to ensure that the scientific and engineering goals of the cruise are accomplished. Students participating in the UW VISIONS'14 at-sea experiential learning course are also an important component of the watch standers.
During the VISIONS'14 expedition, ROPOS will be outfitted for some dives with the novel remotely operated cable laying system (ROCLS) that was used during the previous VISIONS '13 cruise to successfully deploy > 22,000 meters of extension cables onto the seafloor. These extension cables, which range in length from ~ 200 m to nearly 5000 m, provide connections from the Primary Nodes (installed in 2012) to Junction Boxes and instruments installed by ROPOS.
The vehicle is equipped with two robotic arms with force feedback manipulators. These are used to deploy the assets, as well as to collect water, geological, and biological samples.
ROPOS is operated out of Victoria, British Columbia, by the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility. For more information visit the ROPOS website.