TECH

Boaty McBoatface Is About To Begin Its Very First Mission

It's going to be a baptism of ice.

13/03/2017 12:59 GMT | Updated 13/03/2017 13:25 GMT

Boaty McBoatface will embark on its first expedition this week as it travels to some of the deepest and coldest waters on Earth.

The little yellow submarine was given the quirky title after it topped a poll originally designed to name the government’s next polar research ship.

But ignoring the people’s wishes, ministers insisted that Sir David Attenborough would be a more appropriate title for the £200m vessel.

Instead, the name Boaty was bestowed on a trio of unmanned submarines as a sort of consolation prize for the public. Ironically, Boaty doesn’t look very boaty at all; it looks more like a WW2 bomb...

Phil Noble / Reuters

Nevertheless, the submersible is set to carry out some pretty critical research, to find out how the Antarctic Bottom Water affects climate change.

On Friday (17 March), BAS researchers and Boaty McBoatface will depart from Chile aboard RRS James Clark Ross, the current polar ship. 

Once they reach their destination 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula, Boaty will be dropped into the Orkney Passage to survey turbulence.

NERC / NOC

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton, the lead scientist of the expedition, said: “The Orkney Passage is a key chokepoint to the flow of abyssal waters in which we expect the mechanism linking changing winds to abyssal water warming to operate.

“We will measure how fast the streams flow, how turbulent they are, and how they respond to changes in winds over the Southern Ocean.

“Our goal is to learn enough about these convoluted processes to represent them (for the first time) in the models that scientists use to predict how our climate will evolve over the 21st century and beyond.”