Marine robot reaches Hervey Bay near Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Marine robot swims 9 000 miles across Pacific to Australia

A marine robot has completed its 9,000 nautical mile journey across the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia.

The robot or Wave Glider, named "Papa Mau" after the late Micronesian navigator Pius "Mau" Piailug, was developed by ocean data service provider Liquid Robotics,.

The company said that Papa Mau navigated along a prescribed route under autonomous control collecting and transmitting unprecedented amounts of high-resolution ocean data never before available over these vast distances or timeframes. 

Liquid Robotics is providing open access to this data as part of its PacX Challenge, a global competition seeking new ocean applications and research using the PacX data set.

It said Papa Mau had "weathered gale force storms, fended off sharks, spent more than 365 days at sea, skirted around the Great Barrier Reef, and finally battled and surfed the East Australian Current (EAC) to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay near Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia".

The robot travelled through and measured over 1200 miles of a chlorophyll bloom along the Equatorial Pacifi, indicating proliferation of phytoplankton fundamental to ocean life and climate regulation. 

While typically monitored through satellite imagery direct validation of chlorophyll blooms at this resolution provides a groundbreaking link between scientific modelling and in-situ measurement of the Pacific Ocean.

“To say we are excited and proud of Papa Mau reaching his final destination is an understatement,” said Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics.

“We set off on the PacX journey to demonstrate that Wave Glider technology could not only survive the high seas and a journey of this length, but more importantly, collect and transmit ocean data in real-time from the most remote portions of the Pacific Ocean.

"We’ve demonstrated delivery of ocean data services through the most challenging ocean conditions. Mission accomplished.”

Closely following Papa Mau’s arrival in Australia is a second ocean robot named Benjamin.

It is expected to land in early 2013. 

One of the pair heading for Japan, Fontaine Maru, is returning to Hawaii for repair and will continue its journey to Japan once complete.

Further information:

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