Robot Recovery of Shackleton’s Endurance

Ernest Shackleton, a bold explorer, set out for Antarctica on the Endurance in 1914. They intended to visit the south pole, but their ship got stuck in the ice. They lived on board for months, hopign the ice would melt and free their ship. Instead, the treacherous ice crushed the Endurance.

The Endurance sank in 1915, and it took Shackleton and his crew more than a year to be rescued. Shackleton and a few men made a 15 day voyage to South Georgia Island and were able to rescue the rest of the crew five months later. The ship was never recovered — until a robot called Sabertooth found it.

The hidden ship

It was generally know where the Endurance lay, 3,000 meters deep, but the arctic ice prevented its recovery for more than a century. Several expeditions have attempted to find it, but without luck.

The Sabertooth dived far beneath the ice and used sonar to identify the outline of the ship. It captured video of the Endurance and sent it up to the waiting crew.

The unusual environmental conditions preserved the ship so well that its name can clearly be read in the video footage. A 3-D model will be created. The shipwreck is protected by a heritage trust, and will not be disturbed.

Robot rescue

The Sabertooth made it possible for the Endurance to be rediscovered, and will add to the sum total of knowledge. Robots at their best help human beings accomplish their goals  This is certainly one of those cases.

If you use Rexroth electric drive and control systems to keep your robots helpful at work, we can make it easy for you to keep those robots running. Turn to us whenever you need service or support for Rexroth servos, drives, and controls.

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