November 30, 2011 Slideshow

WHOI geobiologist Joan Bernhard and Jason team expedition leader Tito Collasius discuss the samplers that Jason will carry to the bottom of the sea to bring back sediment from DHABs and from areas of normal seafloor. Bernhard is overseeing all the sediment work during the cruise.

Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason is packed and ready to go on its first mission of the cruise. The front of Jason, shown here, sports powerful lights, video and still cameras, two manipulator arms (folded up on each side—one is black, one silver), and a “basket” that carries milk crates filled with the sediment samplers. Photo by Thorsten Stoeck.

Jason’s companion vehicle, Medea, waits as Jason team members bustle around it completing launch preparations. Medea acts as a buffer between the ship, which may move up and down with the waves, and Jason, which must stay undisturbed in order to complete its work. Jason is in the background.

The Jason team is used to working at night. Nighttime deployments of the ROV occur often, and many missions run longer than 24 hours, with at least three members of the team on duty at all times. Photo by Thorsten Stoeck.

Jason and its host ship are guided by three members of the Jason team from the Jason van, a control room above the deck where the ROV is stowed when not working. The team uses data and live video images from multiple screens to view Jason and the area around it. In this picture taken during Dive 1 of the cruise, two of the screens show the sediment samplers in the basket at the front of Jason. Photo by Thorsten Stoeck.

During its first deployment of the cruise, Jason visited Urania Basin to get samples of sediments from the Deep Hypersaline Anoxic Basin, the normal seafloor nearby, and the “bathtub ring” area between the two. This image from Jason’s science camera was taken while Jason moved along and just above what appeared to be the bathtub ring (white band). Normal seafloor is on the left and very dark water, that appeared to be the DHAB brine, is on the right.

Jason returned from its first mission in full daylight. Here, the buoyant ROV has reached the surface and is motoring slowly toward the ship, where a crane and winch will lift it onto the deck. The big tire protects the top of Jason from being scratched by the metal swing arrestor above it. Photo by Thorsten Stoeck.

After the lift line is attached to the top of Jason, a winch lifts it out of the water and returns it to its spot on the port deck of R/V Atlantis. Photo by Thorsten Stoeck.

Hugh Popenoe and Ellen Roosen attach a downward-facing camera to Jason’s basket after the first mission. The Jason team made several other adjustments to the vehicle to improve its performance on future dives, including adding extra lights and adjusting the pump that delivers formaldehyde to the chamber pots.

Smoke rises as Jason team member Hugh Popenoe solders a circuit that controls the flow rate of the pump that delivers a chemical solution to some of the sample chambers. During the first dive of this cruise, the researchers realized that the pump pumped too fast and the flow could not be controlled well enough. Popenoe and Casey Agee adjusted the pump so it could be controlled more precisely.

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