The new Swedish AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) heroine Ran has returned from her second mission beneath Thwaites ice shelf! Just in time for the international women’s day tomorrow!
An AUV is sent down in the water with a pre-programmed mission, e.g. “dive down to 500 m depth, swim 2 km to the east while measuring salinity and temperature and then come back here so that I can pick you up”, while a “ROV” (Remotedly operated vehicule) is connected to and steered from the mother ship via cables.
The name Ran is borrowed from Nordic mythology, where she is the goddess of the deep sea. According to the legend (and wikipedia), Ran catches seamen in big nets and then keeps them with her at the bottom of the sea. Luckily Ran escaped both the nets and the sea ice that was closing up around her pick up spot… and made it safely back to the mother ship were Anna Wåhlin and the rest of the AUV-team was waiting. I bet they were nervous!
On her second trip, Ran ventured three kilometers in under Thwaites, and brought back information on the sub-ice shelf hydrography and currents but also water samples that will be analyzed back in the laboratory.
Ran and I have one thing in common – neither she nor I would be where we are today without Anna’s support and stubborness. I’m so happy Your “baby” is successfull, Anna. You’ve worked so hard for this to happen! Congratulations!
You can read more about Ran and the expeditions (in Swedish) here!