San Diego, CA
Sunday, June 4th was a momentous day for Project Pegasus; a lot of time, energy and prep-work went in to our first in-water test. However, before we could submerge our little robot, we first had to do a final bit of soldering. After the team and I installed external light cubes, which will allow Pegasus to shed extra light in the deep dark water, we did one final pre-dive safety check.
Here’s what Project Pegasus intern Maddie had to say:
“Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for…putting Pegasus into the test pool! Our team has worked extremely hard to get to this point and we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this feat alone. With everyone’s participation and unique skills, the box of various ROV components was soon transformed into a masterpiece that we call Pegasus. Despite the small problems we ran into during the build, Pegasus is definitely a top notch ROV.
But we had one more thing to put on before Pegasus was in the water- the light cubes! This entailed hot gluing the two tiny (yet very bright) cubes onto the sides of the structural unit and soldering the wires to the control panel. Afterwards, we moved on to testing out the game controller that we will be using to control the lights, propellers, direction, and camera angle on Pegasus. It was truly amazing to see Pegasus come alive, something our team will never forget.
Then came the most exciting moment; water time! We carried the computer, controller, and Pegasus out to the test pool and set everything up, making sure that this exciting event would run smoothly. We were all very nervous because we didn’t want our hard work to result in a flooded or destroyed of Pegasus. Team member, Lorenzo, got the honors of putting Pegasus into the water. Unfortunately, we had to pull it out within a minute because the camera wasn’t working, but we restarted it and put it back in the water. The camera then worked normally; the propellers allowed Pegasus to move, and the team was stoked! We each got a chance at using the game controller and viewing the action through the camera that sends live footage back to the computer. It was very exciting to see our ROV operating underwater! Aside from a few hiccups, everything went well and our team was thrilled!”
What a day indeed! It’s hard to believe that we’ve just wrapped up the construction phase of Project Pegasus. It has been an incredible process; I’m honored to have worked with such a dedicated and committed group of scientists-in-the-making. However, as Maddie said, we’re not out of the woods yet. We’ve got just a little bit more troubleshooting before we can pack up little Pegasus and send it off to the Aleutians!
Stay tuned, next time Pegasus will get its first taste of saltwater!
Baron von Urchin
Pike Spector is currently a Research Operations Specialist with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary