22 deg 57.2S
Longitude: 64 deg 33.3E
Wind Direction: E
Wind Speed: 12 Knots
Sea State 3
Swell(s) Height: 1 Foot
Sea Temperature: 82°F (27.8°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1017.9 MB
Visibility: 18+ Nautical Miles
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Daily Update: Checking all systems
By Amy Nevala
After a night of choppy seas, this morning
we stopped to test Knorr's dynamic
positioning (DP) system and a piece of scientific equipment,
the Conductivity-Temperature-Depth sensor, or CTD.
Both are important to the success of our expedition.
DP system automatically keeps Knorr from drifting out
of a specific position. The navigator enters the position into
a computer that controls the ship's thrusters, or propellers.
Using navigation information from satellites, the computer
then moves the ship to the correct position and holds it there.
This is critical when we have equipment thousands
of feet below working at the seafloor.
This morning's DP test "was a success," said
DSOG navigator Tom Crook. "The ship held position without
moving more than a few meters, plus or minus. And that's
just what we're looking for."
Testing the CTD, which is used to detect hydrothermal
plumes, drew a crowd to the ship's starboard side. Seaman Ed
Graham stood at the crane controls while others adjusted lines
to help prevent the CTD from swinging while hoisted over the
ship's rail. "People down below, we are ready to go
crane whirled as the conducting cable slowly lifted the CTD
ten feet off the deck and lowered it with a splash into the
For 90 minutes, it traveled down 4000 meters, about two and a half miles. The
CTD finally stopped about 10 meters, or 33 feet, above the Indian Ocean floor.
Ed then hauled in on the winch. By 2:30 the CTD reappeared on the surface, in
good shape after its inaugural journey this expedition.
The verdict of the CTD test?
"We found a bunch of things that work just fine and a few things that we
need to fix - like the temperature sensors," said oceanographer Bob Collier.
By tomorrow afternoon they will make the repairs and ready the CTD to search
for hydrothermal vents.
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