About the DEPTHX
Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) project is creating the autonomy
needed to enable an underwater robot to map three-dimensional spaces
like flooded caverns and mines. Together with our partners we are
creating a vehicle that will first explore the depths of the
Zacatón Cenote in central Mexico. This scientific investigation
is seeking to understand the unique organisms that survive in this, the
deepest flooded sink hole in the world.
The goals of the
DEPTHX project are: exploration of an unmapped underwater caves and
tunnels; three-dimensional mapping of volumetric extent; modeling of
environmental parameters and their gradients; characterization of
localized site to identify region candidates for biological
investigation; automated image and data collection with in-situ
analysis for adaptive sampling.
project is led by Stone Aerospace who designed and integrated the
vehicle. Southwest Research Institute has built the science payload for
science investigators from the University of Texas at Austin, Colorado
School of Mines, and NASA Ames Research Center. Carnegie Mellon is
developing the navigation and guidance software to map the cenote and
autonomously execute the exploration strategy.