NOAA Tests ROV Little Hercules at Chase Ocean Engineering Lab

NOAA Tests ROV Little Hercules at Chase Ocean Engineering Lab

Mar 13, 2011

Before its upcoming Pacific cruise, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Little Hercules visited the engineering tank at UNH’s Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory for a shakedown cruise of sorts.

“This tank is pretty unique in the country. It’s a great facility,” said David Lovalvo, operations manager working with the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which brought Little Hercules to UNH for testing after engineers gave it an extensive refurbishing. The 1000-pound underwater robot -- equipped with a high-definition camera, sonar, and sensors for conductivity, temperature and depth – submerged, surfaced, and explored the floor of Chase’s 20-foot-deep tank while engineers monitored its progress.

Meanwhile, videographers from both NOAA and National Geographic recorded the testing of the so-called “flying eyeball” -- NOAA for its educational Web site and National Geographic for a series on oceans hosted by oceanographer Bob Ballard.

While Little Hercules spent just five days in Durham before heading to Hawaii, where it will explore the waters between there and Indonesia, NOAA planned to return to Chase to test an ROV almost eight times the size of this one. “They need a big enough tank to submerge the ROV in a controlled environment,” said Andy McLeod, lab manager of the UNH facility, which houses several joint UNH and NOAA programs. McLeod added that the ongoing testing will mean opportunities for UNH undergraduate students to get involved in research.   See what the robot looks like...      Learn more about Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory...

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