We’ve just taken delivery of RV Investigator’s very own gravity meter. How cool is that!
This amazing piece of equipment will be permanently fitted to the ship and has its own gyroscopes, which allow the instrumentation to stay still while the ship rolls and pitches through the waves. This is important because the gravity meter is able to measure very small changes in gravity and we want to remove the roller coaster effect of the ocean!
We need to measure gravity at sea, because it tells us what lies beneath the sea floor and how the Earth’s tectonic plates have moved. Different kinds of rocks, for example volcanic or sedimentary, have a different gravity effect, the denser the rock the greater the gravity effect, and because of these differences, we can work out what the Earth’s continental and oceanic crust is made from.
Understanding how the Earth’s crust forms in the oceans is important because it helps us to discover where there are minerals and resources, and it also helps us to understand the changing dynamics of the ocean, like undersea earthquakes and tsunamis.
We’ve only mapped 12 per cent of the seafloor in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and this will be the first permanently fitted gravity meter for Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel, so we have a lot of work to do!
Check out the photos!
The fabulous, new TRIAXUS, to be used onboard RV Investigator, has been given the once over by Dr Lindsay Pender, all the way over in Denmark!
The factory acceptance testing is part of the process for the purchase of Group 2 Equipment for the Future Research Vessel Project.
Check out the photos!
RV Investigator is so awesome when it comes to communications, it will be capable of live-via-satellite TV interviews from almost anywhere in the world.
The only restriction will be the availability of a satellite signal, and these days there aren’t too many places where this is a problem.
The communications domes, which are about the same size as the weather research radar, have been delivered, lifted and installed on Investigator.
And, they’ll be doing so much more than just TV interviews (it’s just that I’m really excited about this capability)!
The domes will allow those onboard to keep in touch with work colleagues via email and video conferencing, to send data, photos and videos of the work happening onboard the ship, and to allow everyone keep in touch with family and friends.
These gorgeous little domes will make it possible to communicate from onboard the Marine National Facility research vessel, like we’ve never been able to before.
As the fit-out of RV Investigator continues, the interiors of the ship are starting to look almost finished.
From the laundry to the cabins and laboratories, the ship looks amazing!
The latest images of RV Investigator’s bridge show a ship shape command centre.
Recently the Sembawang Shipyard held a Naming Ceremony for RV Investigator.
The event was attended by the Executive Director of the Future Vessel Project, Toni Moate, who attended as the Lady Sponsor, Dr Andrew Johnson, CSIRO Group Executive, Environment, who is also the Chair of the Marine National Facility Future Research Vessel Project Steering Committee, Professor Craig Johnson as the Chair of the Marine National Facility Steering Committee, and the High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Philip Green, attended as the guest of honour
Did you know we ran a national competition to choose a name for the new vessel?
The name Investigator was chosen for its links to our maritime history.
Captain Matthew Flinders, a navigator and cartographer, was the first to person to circumnavigate Australia in his survey ship His Majesty’s Sloop Investigator from 1801-03.
The photos of the Naming Ceremony are fabulous!
One of the new and exciting capabilities for Australia’s Marine National Facility is in the scientific discipline of atmospheric research.
There are two dedicated atmospheric laboratories onboard RV Investigator, and a suite of instrumentation that will passively, continuously, collect data wherever the vessel goes.
Part of this suite of instruments is the nephelometer.
It’s a tricky name, nephelometer, which comes from the Greek word for cloud, nephos.
Did you know that light coming from the sun can actually be deflected by the particles suspended in our atmosphere? That’s why when it’s a hazy day you can’t see very far.
The nephelometer can tell us how much light from the sun is making it through the atmosphere and how much is being reflected back into space!
The nephelometer that will be used onboard RV Investigator has been delivered to Jason Ward (below), from the Atmosphere and Land Observation and Assessment section of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.
We’re purchasing some pretty incredible scientific equipment to be fitted to RV Investigator and there will also be some other items, which can be loaded onto the ship, depending on the voyage and the science to be undertaken.
One of the amazing (and seriously cool) pieces of equipment is the TRIAXUS – it even has an awesome name! This is state-of-the-art technology made from carbon fibre, is hydrodynamically designed to be towed up to 3km behind the ship and to collect data quickly, while flying from the surface down to 350m in an undisturbed marine environment.
The scientists onboard RV Investigator are able to control the flight path to develop a 2D picture of the ocean.
The TRIAXUS can be fitted with different types of instruments such as temperature, salinity and oxygen sensors, instruments to count and identify plankton, and equipment to estimate the amount of phytoplankton.
All of this information is sent to the scientists onboard via a fibre optic cable in real-time.
So what will the data the scientist receive look like?
It arrives onboard as bleeps and blops, and is converted to incredible, colourful snapshots of the ocean like those below. So let’s explain the first image – this shows us the temperature of the ocean down to 160m, with dark blue indicating the temperate is 18.5 degrees Celsius.
The third image shows us fluorescence – now this is really cool!
Phytoplankton, are the small building blocks of life in the oceans, when you shine a light on them, they are able to emit a different coloured light as a reaction. We need this data to work out where fish and other animals in the ocean start their lives and where their food sources can be found. When you look at this image the red, orange and yellow colours show a higher concentration of phytoplankton.
The last image shows us the amount of oxygen in the water with red indicating the greater amounts of oxygen.
Australia’s new Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator, has a system onboard which permits us to add up to 13 container laboratories.
It doesn’t sound exciting does it? But you are so wrong!
This is a fantastic design feature, which is like being able to take an extra suitcase onboard, but instead of shoes and clothes, it will have specialist equipment and scientific capabilities!
This means that scientists from around Australia, and their international collaborators, can pack their container, ship it to the departure port, and then load it onto Investigator without having to unpack.
See, it’s seriously cool!
There are places on the deck and in the hold under the main deck (aft), for these container laboratories.
Here are some photos of the fabulous design for the containers, the seafloor coring system container laboratory, and the transfer trolley onboard RV Investigator that will allow us to move containers into the hold.
In 2002, Southern Surveyor was transferred to the Marine National Facility and since then it’s travelled over 289,000 nautical miles, or about 535,000 kilometres.
Check out the photos of some the science, scientists, crew, ship tours, mobilisations, demobilisations and voyages, from 2002-2013.
A few weeks ago you met one of our fabulous team members, Steve Thomas, who has moved with his family, from Hobart to Singapore, for the final stages of the construction of Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator.
Steve, his wife Linda, (who is also a CSIRO employee) and their daughter Sarah, were recently part of the shipyard’s Naming Ceremony in Singapore.
They all went on a tour of the ship as part of the ceremony, and so here’s a photo of five-year-old Sarah Thomas, our (budding) new Chief Engineer!
She looks perfectly suited to the role!
We’ve told you all about the CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth), which is one of the primary suites of scientific equipment used by oceanographers.
The world’s oceans keep us alive! Did you know that every second breath you take has been created through ocean photosynthesis?
So think of the oceans as the world’s lungs, the currents are like the veins moving nutrients around, and the CTD is the way we are able to monitor the blood pressure.
Some of the questions oceanographers ask and are able to answer with the CTD are:
- Is an ocean current the same temperature it was last year?
- Is it moving at the same speed?
- Has it moved somewhere else?
- And if it’s changed, what is influencing these changes?
The CTD is also used to collect samples for gas analysis and phytoplankton samples.
We’ve recently taken delivery of the 36 bottle CTD rosette and it’s now been assembled – it looks amazing!
Here are photos of the CTD compartment under construction in the shipyard and the 36 bottle CTD rosette assembled in the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Laboratories in Hobart.
All the pieces to this puzzle are falling into place!
RV Investigator needs lots of winches for all sorts of different scientific capabilities.
It needs big winches to deploy nets over the stern of the ship for biological research, it needs medium sized winches to deploy the CTD or Remotely Operated Vehicles (like submarines!) over the side of the ship.
The ship also needs one very little winch, for specialist scientific sampling, for the scientists who undertake trace metal research.
They will use synthetic rope rather than a wire, as a wire might artificially increase the concentration of metals in the part of the ocean they’re testing.
This tiny winch, which will be used to deploy the trace metal sampling CTD (Conductivity Temperature and Depth), was delivered to the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Laboratories, where Samantha Bouhricha and Dr Lindsay Pender from the Future Research Vessel Project Team were on hand to receive the goods!
The rooms, hallways and cabins onboard RV Investigator, have undergone an incredible transformation, from bare steel to swish accommodation.
Check out the transformation in these photos from the shell, to insulation, lining and then the amazing, almost completed cabins!
It’s the sound we’ve all been waiting for, the sweet hum of RV Investigator’s massive MaK engines being started for the first time.
Australia’s new Marine National Facility research vessel has three engines:
- Maker – Caterpillar MAK KIEL
- Model – MAK 9 M25C
- Engine Power – 3000KW@750RPM
Here are some images to recap on the journey these giants have made.