Almost one year ago today, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of Great Britain faced a surreal public relations crisis over whether or not its new research vessel should be named “Boaty McBoatface.” A crowd-sourced campaign launched by NERC resulted in the goofy, Internet-approved name, but the powers that be opted for another name entirely — a public image disaster that sent social media into a tailspin of emotions. Ultimately NERC offered a concession and gave one of the remote-controlled mini-submarines the moniker. Its first mission begins this week.
According to the New York Times, the lil’ submarine will embark on its inaugural mission later this week in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The two-month venture isn’t connected to Boaty’s original designation, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, but it will take it from the RRS James Clark Ross near Punta Arenas, Chile all the way to the Southern Ocean and back. NERC’s official release offered additional mission details:
This month they’ll begin their first mission, traversing a deep current that originates in Antarctica and flows through the Southern Ocean. They’ll be collecting data for the Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow (DynOPO) project as they ‘fly’ through submarine waterfalls and rapids, shedding light on how global warming is changing our oceans
While Boaty’s fans may never fully recover from NERC’s sleight, news of the submarine’s impending mission garnered plenty of good feelings on Monday: