University Of Tasmania

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Ocean floor mapping as a precursor for space exploration

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 15:38 authored by Alexander Forrest, Trembanis, AC, Todd, WL
Exploration of our world's oceans has many of the same challenges encountered in space exploration. In May 2011, a four-day, high-resolution geoacoustic and benthic imagery survey was conducted using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) manufactured by Teledyne Gavia and owned and operated by the University of Delaware. The target area was a 2 km × 0.8 km portion of Conch Reef, Florida, surrounding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory. This work was in support of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) XV program subsequently conducted from October 20-26, 2011. The collected data provides 0.5 m resolution bathymetry in the Carpenter Basin, a 300 m x 300 m region directly surrounding Aquarius, and then 1.0 m resolution in the remainder of the survey area. The resulting bathymetric products were then used as base maps to identify individual targets of interest for DeepWorker (individual submersibles) operations during NEEMO XV. These submersibles had a greatly reduced operating range, as compared to the AUV missions, but were able to provide an enhanced level of detail of individual targets and the ability to return samples of the substrate. Autonomous robotic precursor missions, such as the one illustrated here, play a critical role in developing safe and efficient techniques for human exploration of oceans and are direct analogues for space exploration. © Journal of Ocean Technology 2012.


Publication title

Journal of Ocean Technology








Australian Maritime College


Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Place of publication

St. John´s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes