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Underwater robot completes first-ever trek across Atlantic

Scarlet KnightThe first underwater robot to ever cross the Atlantic reached its destination in Spain this week, 225 days and 7,400 kilometres after leaving New Jersey.

Dubbed the “Scarlet Knight” (after the athletic team name at Rutgers University, which launched the vessel), the submersible robotic glider was on a mission to monitor climate change by measuring ocean temperatures.

The robot ended its journey in the resort town of Baiona, the town to which one of Columbus’ ships returned after his first voyage to the Americas. On Wednesday, Jose Blanco, Spain’s minister of development, formally returned the submersible to a US delegation led by Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Spinrad told a gathering in the harbormaster’s building in Baiona that he had challenged Scott Glenn, a professor of marine science in the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, to send a glider across the ocean in 2006.

“Of course, I must admit that I made that challenge over a couple of bottles of wine in Lithuania,” Spinrad said, referring to a meeting during an academic conference in that country. “”But I have another challenge now: to send a glider on a circumnavigation. And I’m sober now.”

A few minutes later, Robert M. Goodman of Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, replied, “On behalf of my colleagues, the guys and gals who have to pull this off, we accept your challenge.”

1 Comment

  • Nick Taylor
    Posted January 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    WOW ! Its pretty incredible how technology is improving these days.

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