Toward extraplanetary under-ice exploration : robotic steps in the Arctic

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Kunz, Clayton G.
Murphy, Christopher A.
Singh, Hanumant
Pontbriand, Claire W.
Sohn, Robert A.
Singh, Sandipa
Sato, Taichi
Roman, Christopher N.
Nakamura, Ko-ichi
Jakuba, Michael V.
Eustice, Ryan M.
Camilli, Richard
Bailey, John
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This paper describes the design and use of two new autonomous underwater vehicles, Jaguar and Puma, which were deployed in the summer of 2007 at sites at 85°N latitude in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean to search for hydrothermal vents. These robots are the first to be deployed and recovered through ice to the deep ocean (> 3500m) for scientific research. We examine the mechanical design, software architecture, navigation considerations, sensor suite and issues with deployment and recovery in the ice based on the missions they carried out. Successful recoveries of vehicles deployed under the ice requires two-way acoustic communication, flexible navigation strategies, redundant localization hardware, and software that can cope with several different kinds of failure. The ability to direct an AUV via the low bandwidth and intermittently functional acoustic channel, is of particular importance. Based on our experiences, we also discuss the applicability of the technology and operational approaches of this expedition to the exploration of Jupiter's ice-covered moon Europa.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of John Wiley & Sons for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Field Robotics 26 (2009): 411-429, doi:10.1002/rob.20288.
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