First Lander is Up!
“Wow! How cool is this!” exclaimed Dacia on the port bow after watching the bright yellow marker buoy pop up, followed by a roaring cheer as the flag on the lander broke the surface. After getting up at 5:30 am, she admits she had been thinking that she had no idea what to look for, and how was she supposed to spot the lander? She started looking for something out of the ordinary, something that was not supposed to be there. When she saw the yellow floats she knew she was looking at the right thing.
Retrieving the lander was an example of perfectly orchestrated teamwork; the ship steamed alongside the lander and its buoy. One of the techs threw a grappling hook towards the line between the buoy and lander. After snagging the line, it was pulled on board. The buoy was lifted on deck, the line was run through the winch, and then the lander was brought on board. It took the coordinated efforts of the ship’s crew and science team for this successful recovery.
When asked about the lander, Dacia said “It was not what I thought it was going to be. I thought there was going to be more equipment on it based on the size of the cage frame. There was a big huge anemone on one of the legs, which made me wonder what might be living in the little yellow flotation devices around the top. I was very interested to know what kind of data it might have stored on it.”
The large anemone released itself from the leg after it was out of the water for a few minutes. It was more than 100mm across. The size of the anemone was amazing considering it had only been growing for a year. Dacia removed the small anemones and hydroids that were attached to the lander. The samples were stored in 70% ethanol so that they could be transported back to the mainland.
There is more information to be gathered from the lander at a later time. For example, Mike and Gabriela worked on removing the settling plates (look for a blog post about that!) and Furu will determine when to start downloading data that was stored in the mechanisms. We started our search for the second lander instead of focusing on data from the first. We are still trying to find the second lander and are hoping that the weather will continue to cooperate!