Submersible Robot Glider Crosses Atlantic
|Doug Webb designed the Slocum Electric glider, of which the Scarlet Knight is the latest version. Courtesy of Rutgers|
The first submersible robot glider to cross the Atlantic made its formal entrance into the port of Baiona. Spain’s minister of development, Jose Blanco, formally handed the glider over to an American delegation led by Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Jerry Miller, senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dean Robert M. Goodman of Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, were also part of the delegation, and made brief remarks.
Spinrad told a gathering in the harbormaster’s building that he had challenged Scott Glenn, professor of marine science in the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, to send a glider across the ocean in 2006. “Of course, I must admit that I made that challenge over a couple of bottles of wine in Lithuania,” Spinrad said, referring to a meeting during an academic conference in that country. “But I have another challenge now: to send a glider on a circumnavigation. And I’m sober now.”
A few minutes later, Goodman said, “On behalf of my colleagues, the guys and gals who have to pull this off, we accept your challenge.”
Miller stated in his remarks, “It is especially gratifying that this craft — which is sharing with the world everything it learned on its historic voyage — is the epitome of the kind of transparency the Obama administration is committed to, in the firm belief that the best way for all of us to move ahead is to share information for the common good of all mankind.”
Baiona, a resort town of 11,000 in Galicia, is where the Pinta, one of Columbus’s ships, made landfall at the end of the explorer’s first voyage to America. It was, thus, the first town in the Old World to hear about the New World. A replica of the Pinta is docked at the municipal pier here. A replica of the submersible, know as the Scarlet Knight, now resides in the harbormaster’s building and will eventually be part of a maritime museum.
Mayor Jesus Vasquez Almuina said the Scarlet Knight was as important to his town as the Pinta, and New Jersey was as important to Baiona as any part of the New World. “Baiona and New Jersey will be linked forever after this moment,” the mayor said.
Among the honored guests was Doug Webb, a founder of Webb Research, now Teledyne-Webb Research. He designed the Slocum Electric glider, of which the Scarlet Knight is the latest version.