iceCAPSULE - new in-ice quantitative imaging strategies

The "iceCAPSULE" is constructed in its upper parts like a boat to cruise to a pack-ice edge. The middle part consists of two slides. Two protected drives produce over 5000 kN propulsion, strong enough to lift the 1400 kg system onto the ice or to crack 8 cm sea-ice. At the stern the vertical wing leading to the the underwater bridge system 120 cm below surface is visible, carrying on high impact aluminum wings optical benches with the 3D ecoSCOPE head. A large polycarbonate underwater window below a heated observation room allows for direct observation of the experimental scene. In the bow electronics and transducer are isolated with 15 cm foam. Over 12 meters of rails allow for variable docking of instruments, other modules and camera carriers. The system transmits the images and navigational data to the computer- and control-room of the ICEstation ATOLL laboratory (visible in the back) while the iceCAPSULE drifts unmanned with the packice. The hulls of both floating structures are shaped obliquely in the underwater/ice parts so ice-pressures will lift them up.

deployment of U.W.E (UnderWater Explorer) ROV from the iceCAPSULE during test and modification works in the sheltered bay of the ATOLL station - the SPRINT Remotely Operated Vehicle (one of the most advanced on the planet at that time, made in Norway) is connected via a hovering umbilical. Three camera systems are in the raytrace of a single high quality lens: a color camera, a light amplifier and a 36 mm film camera. The camera housing can remotely be tilted upwards while the ROV stays stationary and relatively quiet. On the right side on deck of the control-module ATOLL the norwegian technician Eric (with pipe) and Peter Marschall (with beard) work on the Joystick Box. After three days of exercise the ROV could be controlled within 3 cm precision. The yellow area underwater  to the right of the submersible shows the calibration screens below the underwater windows of the station. Three times U.W.E was shipped down to Antarctica but did not withstand the extreme conditions - but finally, after our  intensive, longterm-tests and adjustments/replacements -on the last chance granted by the senior scientist onboard POLARSTERN - the first images from the ice-caves rolled in, and our assumptions, that krill hide, live, even graze there were for the first time proven and quantified. Shortly after this success the interest in underwater imaging drastically increased - and also respect - the system and we were the laughing stock for many before for years.

vertical wings and control levers of the underwater bridge

The micro- iceberg no 69 (ca. 2500 kg) - one we caught drifting, and surrounded with the lagoon of the ATOLLstation


copyright @ Uwe Kils

supported @ DFG & BMFT & HGD & VOLKSWAGEN

logistics @ IfM

communications @ d'art

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