Mola Mola AUV takes pictures of seafloor off the coast of New York
Habitat Mapping cruise of the NEMFS aboard the Bigelow
Mola Mola and crew departed Newport, RI aboard NOAA ship Henry Bigelow on August 5, 2011 for a 7 day mapping mission to the Hudson Canyon. This submarine canyon begins from the shallow outlet of the estuary at the mouth of the Hudson River and extends out over 400 nmi (740 km) seaward across the continental shelf finally connecting to the deep ocean basin at a depth of 3 to 4 km below sea level. Target depth for the AUV on this cruise was around 650m below sea level.
After successful calibration of the AUV's inertial navigation system and installation of acoustic positioning beacons in the target area, the AUV dove to the ocean floor and retrieved autonomously approximately 1500 images of the bottom fauna and flora within the canyon. The images of the canyon walls and floor are the first images that were taken in this area at these depths, providing a unique insight in the life and habitat of a submarine canyon.
The acquired digital still images will be used to ground-truth multibeam and back scatter data previously collected with the Eagle Ray AUV using its on board EM2000 multibeam echo sounder system.