Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider Completes Pacific Crossing

“Papa Mau” sets new world record for longest distance traveled by autonomous vehicle

1 min read
Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider Completes Pacific Crossing

It’s Thursday, 6 December, in Australia, and “Papa Mau,” an autonomous vehicle that propels itself by tapping into wave energy, has arrived in Australia. Launched from San Francisco by U.S.-based Liquid Robotics, Papa Mau traveled 16 668 kilometers, during which, the company says, “he 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.” During this journey he measured chlorophyll blooms and gathered other data, all of which was transmitted to researchers in real time.

Sibling robot Benjamin is following behind, and is expected to show up in Australia early next year. Two other robots set off for Japan; one is still en route, a second has detoured back to Hawaii for repair.

Photos: A Wave Glider in action, above. Four robots set off across the Pacific last year, below. Credit: Liquid Robotics

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.

NASA

For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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