Boaty McBoatface sent on its first mission
An unmanned submersible christened Boaty McBoatface after a competition to name a new polar research ship backfired is being sent on its first Antarctic mission.
Boaty, a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is to investigate water flow and turbulence in the dark depths of the Orkney Passage, a 3.5 kilometre (2.17 miles) deep region of the Southern Ocean. The minisub got its name after the Natural Environment Research Council inadvisedly asked the public to decide what to call a new polar research ship.
The people spoke - and by a huge majority voted for the name Boaty McBoatface. Embarrassed officials rejected that choice and instead named the £200m ship after famous naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. But as a nod to the democratic process they allowed silliness to prevail by preserving the name for a remotely operated submersible.
Boaty will travel with the Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow expedition on the British Antarctic Survey ship James Clark Ross, leaving Punta Arenas in Chile on March 17.