Commencing operation in 2000, NOAA’s remotely operated vehicle Argus typically works in tandem with another “workhorse” ROV known as Hercules. As a “tow sled” designation, Argus is suspended at the end of a steel-armored fiber-optic cable that is tethered to NOAA’s E/V Nautilus at the sea surface. Because Argus lacks a buoyancy module and is built of heavy stainless steel, its movements are controlled by moving the ship or raising and lowering the cable. A short 100-foot tether connects Hercules to Argus. By keeping the tether between Argus and Hercules slack, Argus can then absorb the brunt of any ship movements, so that Hercules can remain stable and collect HD video from the seafloor.
Argus’ HD video camera is similar to Hercules in that its large lights illuminate the area. The overhead view from Argus then allows pilots and scientists a higher-level view around Hercules. With Argus thrusters controlling the heading, pilots “flying” the ROV (while sitting in E/V Nautilus control room) can then aim the video cameras toward Hercules and other areas of interest.
Measuring 11 feet long and 4 feet high, and weighing 4,000 pounds, Argus (when working individually) can dive to depths of to 3.7 miles.
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