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Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:07 PM

Robot undergoes final tests at Lake St Clair before diving Antarctica's deep unknowns

ABC Radio Hobart By Georgie Burgess
Updated about an hour ago

It's four degrees and misty on the banks of Australia's deepest lake, and a group of scientists is intently watching a submarine-like robot being launched into the icy depths.

Lake St Clair's conditions are appropriate, because the next time the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) heads out it will be in some of the coldest, darkest and deepest parts of the planet.

This is the final dress rehearsal for the $5 million AUV before it explores uncharted parts of the east Antarctic environment, providing scientists with critical information on ice shelves and their impacts on global climate.

Erica Spain, a student at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, has been working on the AUV for 18 months as part of the Antarctic Gateway Partnership and will make her first trip to Antarctica this summer.


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