A Scientific Voyage of Global Significance
Saildrone USVs provide an unprecedented opportunity to learn about distant marine environments. Powered by wind and solar energy and equipped with an array of instruments to monitor ocean and atmospheric conditions, two saildrones departed New Zealand in January 2019 on an epic voyage: the first-ever autonomous circumnavigation of Antarctica, with the generous support of the Li Ka Shing Foundation of Hong Kong.
Scientists from around the globe are providing inputs into the mission plan as the saildrones explore the Southern Ocean’s diverse ecosystem, studying topics ranging from krill abundance to penguin behavior and carbon fluxes.
Bringing Antarctica to the Classroom
Students, as part of their class or individually, can follow along with the mission on this website. Explore real-time data and imagery sent by satellite, and learn about Antarctic krill, penguins, and the importance of phytoplankton. Don’t forget to enter the Wing Design contest by submitting your design for a saildrone wing and win a trip to Saildrone HQ in California to see your design come to life—the contest is open to Hong Kong residents only.
Teachers can access a series of STEM-oriented developed by the 1851 Trust, a UK-based education charity committed to inspiring young people to become future innovators and environmental stewards. The curriculum is offered free of charge to teachers around the world for use in their classrooms, along with with the interactive mission map and weekly blog posts.
A Global Scientific Collaboration
Saildrone is collaborating with scientific experts from around the globe to guide the vehicles along the way and address some of the key scientific objectives listed below.
Surveying krill abundance
Saildrones will collect krill abundance data using their echo sounders to investigate the pressures krill face from a changing environment.
Tracking tagged animals
Saildrones will characterize areas where tagged penguins and seals feed to study the relationship between predators and prey.
Saildrones will measure the rate of CO2 absorption and/or emission by the Southern Ocean with scientific precision.
Saildrones will use their full suite of metocean sensors to collect valuable data for weather forecasting and ecosystem modeling.