Mystic Aquarium Research Institute for Exploration Research

ARGUS & LITTLE HERCULES

ARGUS and LITTLE HERCULES are designed to operate together. The tow sled, ARGUS, hangs on the end of a long cable dangling from the ship. ARGUS is maneuvered primarily by moving the ship and raising and lowering the cable. Thrusters (electric motors with propellers) on ARGUS allow the pilot to aim its lights and cameras toward sites of interest and LITTLE HERCULES.

LITTLE HERCULES is a "Remotely Operated Vehicle," or ROV, intended primarily for gathering high quality video images of underwater artifacts. There are no people on board, but LITTLE HERCULES allows a pilot and other observers on shipboard to experience visiting the bottom of the ocean almost as though they were there.

LITTLE HERCULES has a buoyancy module to make it neutrally buoyant in seawater. That means its density is close to that of seawater, so gravity has little effect on the vehicle when it is submerged, and a small downward force from the thrusters will drive the vehicle toward the bottom.

Four thrusters allow the pilot to maneuver LITTLE HERCULES freely, as long as the tether going back to ARGUS doesn't come taut. The length of the tether is about 30 meters (100 feet). LITTLE HERCULES carries a very special, High Definition video camera to provide as much detail as possible to the observers on the ship and elsewhere.

ARGUS and LITTLE HERCULES were used in the Black Sea in 2000 to explore ancient shipwrecks and possible submerged habitation sites.

ARGUS Technical Specifications

Maximum Depth: 3000 m
Weight in air: 1200 kgf
Weight in seawater: 900 kgf
Length: 3.5 meters

LITTLE HERCULES Technical Specifications

Maximum Depth: 3000 meters
Weight in air: 250 kgf
Weight in seawater: -1 to -4 kgf (slightly positive buoyancy)
Sensors: precision depth/pressure, acoustic altimeter (echosounder), magnetic compass, scanning/imaging sonar

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