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Scientific submarine reaching depths up to 2,300 meters launched in Barcelona

Aurelia offers scientists and researchers a 360-degree vision of the ocean

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02 May 2022 01:31 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

A new scientific submarine that can reach depths of up to 2,300 meters was christened on Monday in Barcelona’s Port Forum. Aurelia is the first modern scientific submersible built 100% in Catalonia with a huge acrylic sphere offering passengers near 360-degree unobstructed views. 

The sub has been developed by the American company Triton Submarines in its Sant Cugat del Vallès facility, near Barcelona. REV Ocean will be the company using the submarine with its scientific sensors, tools, cameras, and sampling equipment.

REV Ocean is a not-for-profit company created with the purpose to "make our oceans healthy again," looking for solutions to combat "the negative pressures currently affecting the ocean," a statement reads.

"The idea of REV Ocean is to find solutions to current problems in the oceans, such as climate change, overfishing, and plastic pollution, and the idea is that scientific research is used to solve these issues," REV Ocean’s scientific coordinator, Eva Ramírez, said after the christening of the submarine.

The owner of the submarine will offer it to scientists around the world "for free," and all their tools, including a boat still under construction, will be available for research. 

The submarine has a poly, also known as plexiglass, window. The interesting thing about it, manufacturers Triton explain, is the reflection level between seawater and this material. "As they have the same reflection level, once the submarine dives, the window optically disappears, allowing the feeling of full immersion into the ocean, which is impressive," Hector Salvador, operations director at Triton said. 

"It feels like you are inside the sea, and the visibility and understanding of the ecosystem is not the same compared to other submarines," Ramírez explained. 

The name of the submarine has been chosen after a public naming competition. The winner, Aurelia, is quite “fitting” as it means gold, or “The golden one” (from the Latin Aurum), organizers said. 

Aurelia aurita is also the name given to the commonly seen moon-jellyfish which can easily be recognized by its distinctive four horseshoe-shaped pattern, seen through the top of the bell.

Aurelia will now go through extensive sea trials around the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean over the coming weeks to test its capabilities, performance, and science equipment. The sea trial is the last phase of construction ahead of Aurelia’s full certification.

REV Ocean’s other deep-sea vehicle, ROV Aurora, entered service in October 2021 and dove the Malloy Deep and the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean (3800m), sampling hydrothermal vents for the first time.

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  • REV Ocean's submarine entering the water in Barcelona's Forum port on May 2, 2022 (by REV Ocean)

  • REV Ocean's submarine in Barcelona's Forum Port during the launch (by Angus Clelland)

  • REV Ocean's submarine entering the water in Barcelona's Forum port on May 2, 2022 (by REV Ocean)
  • REV Ocean's submarine in Barcelona's Forum Port during the launch (by Angus Clelland)

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