Field Notes: Testing Mesobot in Seawater
March 11, 2021
Dispatches from Bermuda
By Tuesday, March 10, OTZ engineers had Mesobot working properly on land, which meant it was time to test it in the water. After loading it onto Catapult with a forklift, they ferried it over to a nearby marina where they had access to shoreside power. Once Mesobot was finally submerged in water, however, it hit a snag. It wasn’t moving around as it should. OTZ engineers quickly got to work, and by evening, after testing each system one at a time, they isolated the problem to a single thruster, something easily cured with some clever coding.
This morning, the OTZ team quickly fixed the last remaining issue, and headed out to the deep water. “In our latest test, the vehicle had NO problem submerging. We have plenty of thrust now,” said Dana Yoerger, “weather's looking good, and we're hopeful that will continue.”
You can view a slide show of the saltwater testing below. Stay tuned for an update on today’s adventures to the twilight zone...
—Jennie Berglund, OTZ Field Correspondent
Docked at a marina, engineers Jordan Stanway and Fredrick Marin guide Mesobot into the water for testing in saltwater as engineer and underwater videographer Evan Kovacs captures the moment from the water.
The R/V Catapult transports Mesobot to a nearby marina for testing in saltwater.
Engineer Fredrick Marin “walks” Mesobot and the forklift to Catapult, which will transport it to a marina for testing in saltwater.
(From left) Engineers Dana Yoerger, Evan Kovacs, Jordan Stanway, and Frederick Marin troubleshoot a puzzling issue with in Mesobot’s thrusters. The problem only appeared once the vehicle came into contact with saltwater.
After a day of careful and extensive troubleshooting, the OTZ engineers have fixed Mesobot’s thrusters, so they bring the vehicle back aboard and call it a night. Mesobot is now ready to explore the deep water!