Orpheus: The First Steps Towards Exploring Ocean Worlds

Orpheus: The First Steps Towards Exploring Ocean Worlds

Orpheus: The First Steps Towards Exploring Ocean Worlds

Dive In
Location

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)

Release Date

Fall 2018

Location

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)

Release Date

Fall 2018

In September of 2018, OceanX sent an otherworldly deep sea vehicle to the bottom of the ocean.  

Background

The Hadal Zone

Named for the Ancient Greek god of the Underworld, the hadal zone is the pitch-black layer of our oceans spanning from 6,000 meters to its deepest point (over 11,000 meters). Historically, it has been extremely difficult to explore, with crushing atmospheric pressures requiring large and incredibly expensive vehicles that are few and far between.

Overview
In 2015, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab conceived of a lightweight, relatively cost-effective vehicle that could not just be replicated at scale, but could one day travel to outer space to explore the oceans of other planets. This is how they conceived of Orpheus, a 550-pound autonomous underwater vehicle about the size of a desk. Equipped with cameras, Orpheus is able to open up exploration to the wider oceanographic community and answer fundamental questions about what is living in the deepest parts of our ocean. In September of 2018, the first sea trials of Orpheus took place in the waters off Cape Cod. There, our crew members lowered the drone into the water before releasing the tether — allowing Orpheus to embark on its first solo route, and the beginning of a vast journey into alien environments, both on other planets and our own.
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