Boaty McBoatface has slipped beneath the icy waters of the Antarctic on her first operational deployment.
Happily, the little yellow submarine resurfaced again after 30 hours following a pre-programmed route devised by scientists from the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre.
Lowered into the Weddell Sea from RRS James Clark Ross three days ago, Britain's second favourite yellow submarine surfaced on Wednesday for some "fine-tuning by the engineering team" ready for her next venture into the deep.
The British Antarctic Survey's mother ship will be poking around the deeper reaches of the South Atlantic during her cruise. "Its mission is to investigate the flow of deep water masses north from the Antarctic through the Orkney Passage, a submarine valley that connects the Weddell Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and allows the movement of abyssal water masses," said the BAS in a statement.
Boaty McBoatface, as every social media user with a sense of humour knows, was the name originally picked by the Great British Public for the James Clark Ross's replacement following an ill-advised public vote to name the new ship, organised by the Natural Environment Research Council.
Despite an attempt by dastardly Spaniards to impose the name of one of Spain's vanishingly few naval heroes on to the research vessel, it was eventually given the conventional name Sir David Attenborough – with the public choice being bestowed on her autonomous underwater vessel.
The current research ship is named after Captain Sir James Clark Ross RN. He was a British naval officer of the early 19th century. He commanded a number of geographic expeditions, most notably including an Antarctic expedition in 1839-43 to search for the southern magnetic pole. He later mounted an unsuccessful search for HM Ships Erebus and Terror, which were both lost without trace searching for the elusive North West Passage around the top of the Americas. Terror was found some 168 years after disappearing, having sunk in an Arctic bay after being abandoned by her doomed crew. ®
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