The remote-controlled underwater research submarine that captivated the world past year is making its first ever trip this week to Antarctica to capture climate change data - and also our hearts.
The British Antarctic Survey explains that the submersible will be investigating "an abyssal current of Antarctic Bottom Water along the Orkney Passage", as part of an expedition that begins Friday. The information that it collects will help scientists to better understand how the ocean is being impacted by global warming.
In a defeat for democracy, the government declared that Boaty McBoatface was not a suitable name for a state-of-the art vessel.
The winning entry ended up being "Boaty McBoatface", but NERC officials balked at the name and eventually chose to name the vessel after Sir David Attenborough, the famed British naturalist and broadcaster.
Clearly horrified at the thought of having to give its lovely new vessel such a daft name, the NERC reminded everyone that it would have the final say. Well, that boat-which everyone still refers to as Boaty McBoatface even if it's not the boat's official moniker-was actually named after naturalist Sir David Attenborough (not as fun, though well deserved, of course).
Along with Boaty, the scientists will depart Punta Arenas in Chile on March 17 aboard the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross. Shifting winds off Antarctica may increase such turbulence, the university said, sucking in heat from shallower ocean layers and sending it toward the Equator to affect climate change.
In 2019 Boaty McBoatface will be fitted with acoustic and chemical sensors and sent into the North Sea to "sniff out" signals associated with the artificial release of gas beneath the seabed. Ultimately, the researchers would like to create models to help them predict how our climate will change during the 21st century and beyond.
A future mission for Boaty will be to attempt the first-ever under ice crossing of the Arctic Ocean.
The sub was developed by Britain's National Oceanography Center.