Self-contained Chinese robot scoops up soil samples from Arctic Ocean seabed to study Mid-Atlantic Ridge
The Tansuo 4500 self-contained robot submersible, developed at the Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, successfully completed a research project in the Arctic, as part of the 12th Chinese high-latitude expedition. Four research associates studied the Arctic shelf from aboard the expedition icebreaker MV Xue Long 2.
The successful underwater mission by the Tansuo 4500 in the high-latitude Arctic zone helped obtain important statistics for use in conducting additional in-depth research, for comprehending geological processes and studying multiple energy-and-substance exchange cycles near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
This data will serve as a solid scientific foundation for actively involving China in Arctic environmental protection projects.
Due to the high density of sea-ice formations near the expedition’s operation zone, researchers developed an innovative method for obtaining soil samples from under the ice.
The method combines acoustic remote control and automatic guidance allowing the robot submersible to cope with certain difficulties caused by rapid ice-floe movements and a limited open-water section linking it with the vessel.
This made it possible to successfully complete several underwater missions in the high-latitude Arctic Ocean zone, covered with dense ice, and to safely return the robot to the icebreaker.
The robot managed to collect high-resolution multi-directional, hydro-dynamic and aero-magnetic data volumes that will form the mainstay of an advanced measuring technology.
This data will help provide insight into the topographical and geo-morphological specifics of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, its magma and hydro-thermal activity. Until recently, scientists made very little headway in studying these phenomena.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences developed the deep-water Tansuo 4500 submersible under a pilot strategic science and technological project aimed at evaluating substance-and-energy exchanges in the tropical belt of the West Pacific and their influence.
Prior to joining the Arctic scientific expedition, the robot submersible was adapted to the new environment and to high-latitude Arctic navigation. It was also pre-programmed to measure the seabed and to eliminate malfunctions.
Experts also tested the equipment in lakes and seas, so as to effectively prove the system’s reliability.