21 January 2022

#AntarcticLog: Giant glaciers & robotic friends

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

My post last week included a big comic about Julia Wellner and the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).  It featured a tiny comic showing Ran, the Hugin AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) that would become the first robot to explore under the glacier. 

Now Ran is back for another tour under the massive Thwaites Glacier — the size of the UK — and it’s brought some robotic friends with it. 

Icefin — an explorer that dives through a hole drilled in the ice, then turns horizontal to motor beneath it  — is among them. 

And an AUV given the name that the RRS David Attenborough — the UK’s new icebreaker — will help map the seafloor beneath the glacier.  

Next week — profiling gliders and the team that runs them. 

So much data! And yet much of it is the first of its kind, as the ITGC team works to understand what the glacier is experiencing at the hands of climate change — and what its future will hold. 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram