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Tools & Technology: CAMPER


CAMPER ("CAMera samPlER")
CAMPER will be used to pick up samples from the ocean bottom. CAMPER is a large sampling sled (about the size of a Sport Utility Vehicle) that the ship tows on a line near seafloor vents. CAMPER is equipped with lights, a navigation system, chemical sensors, a video camera, and devices for quickly grabbing samples--a claw for grabbing hard samples such as rocks or clams and a “slurp gun” that can vacuum in fluids or shrimp. Once a vent site is located using the AUVs Puma and Jaguar, scientists will lower the CAMPER to the seafloor to collect samples from the vent sites. The vehicle is positioned primarily by moving the ship, although the engineers can “drive” CAMPER in a small area using thrusters. The samples are of critical importance to biologists, who will use the DNA from the creatures they find to trace their origins.


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