Hurricane Sandy made a huge impact on land so you can imagine it was even more brutal out to sea. No ship would want to get caught by a superstorm. Well, no ship except very few like the Wave Glider, a robot seafaring ship that is designed to monitor weather and ocean conditions while making use of wave energy to move around.
One Wave Glider got caught by Hurricane Sandy but made it through unharmed.
This robot is called Mercury and was caught by the worst of the storm 100 miles (160 km) out to sea off the coast of New Jersey. It weathered winds of up to 81 mph (130 km/h).
"Mercury now joins the fleet of other Wave Gliders that have come through Category I hurricanes to successfully fulfill their missions," Dr. Edward Lu, chief of innovative applications for Liquid Robotics, said.
"This is a testament to our robust and reliable technology and proof of its readiness for severe weather data collection," he added.
Ed Lu is a former NASA astronaut who spent several months aboard the ISS. He worked for Google for a while before joining Liquid Robotics, the company behind the Wave Glider robots.
Wave Glider is designed to monitor all sorts of conditions and relay back data in real-time for years at a time, with no outside input or need for maintenance.
It can stay autonomous for so long since it uses wave energy to move and solar panels to power the electronics.
It's made up of a floating platform (Float) that contains the solar cells, antennas and some instruments, and a submerged portion (Sub) that is tethered to the floating component by a 20-feet (6-meter) cable.
Waves lift the Float as they rise and pull the Sub upwards. Wings on the Sub turn upwards creating lift and a forward and up motion. The same process is repeated after the wave passes and the Sub goes down.