Boaty McBoatface, is without a doubt, the world’s
worst best-named submersible and it is about to embark on its first mission to the Antarctic.
Last year, in case you didn’t hear about it, the submersible got its ridiculous name after Britain’s National Environment Research Council (NERC) asked the public to help name a new polar research vessel via the help of the internet. Names were submitted and by polling the public, the name “Boaty McBoatface” was chosen as the name went on to win by 25,000 votes over the 2nd place finisher.
Sadly, and despite Boaty McBoatface winning, the folk at NERC decided they couldn’t live with the name on a multimillion dollar vessel. Can you imagine being at a dinner party and you are the captain or crew member and someone asks you what you do for a living? Well, I’m the captain of Boaty McBoatface.
With some controversy, the NERC decided to name the ship the “RRS David Attenborough” instead. Who doesn’t love a little David Attenborough, but easily understandable many were disappointed by this decision. With that said, NERC offered an olive branch to appease the general public by naming a class of three yellow unmanned submarines Boaty McBoatface.
The name survived but the submersible isn’t a boat and calling them Submersibly McSubmersibleface” might just be a bit too many letters to fit on the side of an unmanned submarine.
The Boaty McBoatfaces are now ready to serve the scientific community by going boldly where no man has gone before by traveling below the Antarctic region. The RSS David Attenborough won’t be to completed until 2019.
The Guardian reports that Boaty will travel to the Orkney Passage on the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research ship James Clark Ross with a scheduled departure from Chile on March 17. Once the ship arrives in the Orkney Passage, it will be sent out into cold Antarctic currents to research and measure the current speeds water temperature and wind effects on the waters in the Southern Ocean.
Scientists believe that the water in the Orkney Passage is warming, and they are hoping that Boaty will help them understand the implications of this temperature rise.
Professor Mike Meredith from the BAS told BBC News:
One of these [implications]is sea-level rise because if you make water warmer obviously it expands and that pushes the sea level up. But it also has relevance for benthic ecosystems. So, the animals that live on the seabed can typically cope well with low temperatures but not all of them can cope with changes in temperatures. The fact that this water has been getting warmer may have significant consequences for these animals.
While Boaty is patrolling the Antarctic region, its two siblings are in Southampton being prepared for their own expeditions.
It looks like the Boaty clan is hot property. Professor Russell Wynn from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) said that they are getting lots of proposals for missions – and with three in the fleet, they are able to meet demand. With the silly name of these vessels, don’t expect this to be they last news from the Boaty fleet.