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Journey to the Challenger Deep: 50 Years Later With the Nereus Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle

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Abstract

The hybrid remotely operated vehicle Nereus, developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in collaboration with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific and Johns Hopkins University, is designed to provide a new level of access to a maximum depth of 11,000 m. Nereus operates in two different modes. The vehicle can operate untethered as an autonomous underwater vehicle for broad area survey, capable of exploring and mapping the seafloor with sonars, cameras, and other onboard sensors. Nereus can be converted at sea to become a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to enable close-up imaging and sampling. The ROV configuration incorporates a lightweight fiber-optic tether to the surface for high-bandwidth real-time video and data telemetry to the surface to enable high-quality teleoperation, additional cameras and lights, manipulator arm, and sampling gear. Nereus underwent sea trials in May and June of 2009 during which it completed eight dives, including two dives to more than 10,900 m in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench with a total bottom time in excess of 12 h.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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