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Meteor-Blog 19. July 2008: LIFT up!

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Today in the Meteor-Blog: MARMIC-student Petra Pop Ristova will explain to us the in situ-LIFT-system.

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19. July 2008 (Author: Petra Pop Ristova)

Today's BLOG contributed by:

Petra Pop Ristova"My name is Petra Pop Ristova. I am a master student enrolled in the International MarMic (Marine Microbiology) graduate program at the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen."

LIFT up!

For a land-dwelling Macedonian like me, the cruise started with the common problem: seasickness. But today I could already enjoy the beautiful seascape of the Atlantic.

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Picture 1: Author Petra Pop Ristova inspects the in situ-elevator system “LIFT”

We have a really nice day: warm, sunny and a calm sea. A big school of dolphins and seals escorted our research vessel Meteor, entertaining us scientists.

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Picture 2: A dolphin playing with the bow wave of Meteor. If you look closely you can see how the ship is reflected in the dolphin skin (picture by Volker Asendorf)

Since we left Walvis Bay harbour, hard work determines everyone’s timetable. Our technicians, Tomas Wilkop and Volker Asendorf had to finish up the constructing of one very important device for this cruise – The in situ-elevator system “LIFT”. This underwater elevator, developed by the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and the MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, is a semi-autonomous instrument that enables us scientists to transport additional equipment to the deep-sea floor. Down on the ocean bottom the Bremen underwater robot QUEST 4000 can use the equipment to take for example sediment samples or may conduct experiments and various measurements. 

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Picture 3:  Our technicians Tomas Wilkop and Volker Asendorf mounting the flashlights on LIFT

The LIFT has a weight of about two tons. Connected via cable to the ship’s winch it can be positioned at the desired location at the deep-sea floor before the cable is released. Once at the deep-sea floor the underwater robot QUEST can take out the instruments and additional equipment for the underwater work. As soon as all the measurements are done and the equipment is returned to the lift, the ship sends an acoustic signal, which will be received by the LIFT-system. Consequently extra weight attached to the LIFT will be dropped. Due to the created buoyancy the LIFT ascends back to the sea surface where it is picked up by the ship. With this instrument, scientific work efficiency of each dive could be enhanced by 200 to 300 Percent!

Hard work, even writing about it, and fresh air make everybody hungry. Today the crew will be served with Indian curry by the caboose.

Many greeting from aboard,

Petra Pop Ristova