Doorway to the deep ocean
There’s something thrilling about a doorway to the deep ocean, in the middle of a ship, where scientists can explore a vast, unknown, watery world.
The moon pool on Australia’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, provides such an opportunity to explore the ocean beneath metre-thick sea ice, with a range of autonomous or tethered instruments.
Australian Antarctic Division Marine Facilities Manager, Rick van den Enden, said the 13 metre-long shaft is 4 x 4 metres wide, providing a versatile deployment point.
“The moon pool will allow us to sample in places we’ve never been able to sample before, such as in areas that might traditionally be covered in sea ice all year,” Mr van den Enden said.
“We used to have to rely on making a clear area to be able to do a deployment, and we had the risk of ice coming in around the wire or we had limitations of the ice extent that we could sample in.
“Now we've got this nice bit of open water with this hole through the vessel. So we can put packages in there like our water sampling devices, we can put in nets for marine organisms, and we can put remotely operated vehicles down there.”
Such unrestricted deployments will enhance data collection in the ice and marine realms, informing research and policy on climate, marine ecosystems and conservation.
Learn more in the video below.