Submersible goes missing beneath Antarctica's doomsday glacier after 'running into trouble'

submersible goes missing beneath antarctica's doomsday glacier after 'running into trouble'

Submersible goes missing beneath Antarctica’s doomsday glacier after ‘running into trouble’

A submersible has disappeared while researching the “Doomsday Glacier” in Antarctica, sparking concern among the scientific community.

Thankfully, unlike the Titan Submersible that imploded in the summer of 2023, the craft, which is called Ran, was uncrewed when it went missing.

The craft-owned by the University of Gothenburg is one of only three in the world of its kind, and the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is key to exploration of conditions underneath the enormous Thwaites Glacier.

The craft had been due to communicate with the team on land at certain points during a recent dive. However, Ran did not make contact at the expected location, sparking fears among the team.

Anna Wåhlin is a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. Wåhlin said in a statement: “This was the second time we took Ran to Thwaites Glacier to document the area under the ice. Thanks to Ran, we became the first researchers in the world to enter Thwaites in 2019, and during the current expedition we have visited the same area again.

“Even if you see melting and movements in the ice from satellite data, from Ran we get close-ups of the underside of the ice and information about exactly which mechanisms are behind the melting.”

Wåhlin also expressed the difficulty in searching for a craft which has run out of power in the depths of Antarctica, explaining: “It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but without even knowing where the haystack is.

“At this point, Ran’s batteries are dead. All we know is that something unexpected happened under the ice. We suspect it ran into trouble, and then something prevented it from getting out.”

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