Boaty McBoatface Set For First Voyage

First Posted: Mar 14, 2017 04:30 AM EDT

Boaty McBoatface may seem like the name of a cartoon character in a children's show, but the yellow submarine has far more serious work than many other boats in a marina. The yellow submarine is actually set to leave for its first science expedition and is bound for Antarctica in a few days.

According to BBC, the robot will be mapping the movement of deep waters, which has a critical role in regulating the planet's climate. While the name is fun to say, Boaty's original body was supposed to be that of a polar research vessel that the public voted on. The government, however, thought this was going to be inappropriate for the important mission, so it designated the boat to a submersible instead.

Boaty is not alone with the name, either. There is actually more than one Boaty McBoatface. The name actually covers a trio of vehicles in the new underwater robots developed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), and they are set to be configured depending on the tasks they are given.

The first yellow submarine that will start the "adventures of Boaty" will be heading out to Punta Arenas, Chile, on Friday aboard the British polar ship RRS James Clark Ross. Later in March, Boaty will be checking the deep current in the Southern Ocean that originated in Antarctica. Among the things that Boaty will study are the extent of the ice melt and the proceses that are driving changes in the Polar Regions.

The NOC website also noted that Boaty will surface from time to time to transmit data via a radio link, making it one of the most capable marine robot vehicles in the world. The Autosub Long Range vehicles were after all developed specifically to travel thousands of kilometers on missions that will last for months at a time, ensuring that Boaty McBoatface and the others can discover more of the mysterious ocean below.

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