Exciting things are happening on board as we have now completed one Jason dive and are about 20 hours into the second dive (dive #672 of Jason II’s life!). Jason is the remotely operated vehicle built by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory that is absolutely essential to our mission. Jason remains tethered to the ship via its counterpart Medea by a 6.2 km fiber-optic cable that delivers power and commands from the ship.
The vehicle is equipped with lots of equipment to facilitate the data and sample collection. There are twelve cameras total aboard the Jason, three of which are HD. The two manipulator arms are essential; one is robust and used for heavy duty tasks and the other for fine scale movements and finesse. Using the more sensitive arm and our mat sampler, we are able to collect at the scale of centimeters from the iron mats. There is also an 8-function manifold that operates a five-chamber slurp sampling device, two swing-arm sampling compartments, and the basket in which many of our instruments and samples are carried.
Inside the control van, Jason crew and Science staff work together in four-hour shifts to make our way through the pre-determined dive plan. 40 screens inside the control van show the different camera views, tracking map, sonar, and allow for HD video and snapshots to be recorded at any time. The Jason Pilot and science-crew Watch Leader work together to bring home the best samples possible.
-Anna Leavitt, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Photo Credits: Shingo Kato