A temperature- and salinity-monitoring robot will swim from Greenland to Spain, gathering global warming data as it cruises. If all goes as planned, it will break the robot swimming distance record. Snip:
An autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, Spray is a joint venture between the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. When deployed, it will act as an aquatic sentinel, gathering data on temperature, currents and salinity that will help scientists better understand the role of oceans in regulating the global climate. The main point of the Greenland-Spain run is to test its endurance — if successful, the robot will break its own record of 1,864 nautical miles for the longest distance ever traveled by an AUV. But the big goal, which researchers hope to meet by 2011, is to deploy hundreds of these gliders worldwide, giving scientists a constant telepresence in the ocean.