A group of citizen scientists will soon be taking a closer look at Brooklyn’s heavily polluted Gowanus Canal using an underwater robot. NYU-Poly associate professor Mauirizio Porfiri and Oded Nov are launching the Brooklyn Atlantis 1, a robot that will probe the depths of the canal. Along with some other human volunteers, the robot will monitor pollution and plant and marine life as the Gowanus undergoes a heavy-duty clean-up.
This month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal could cost $467 million to $504 million. The expensive and arduous task will remove decades of pollution from the water and sediment, and require dredging of the entire canal.
During the clean-up process, the remote controlled Brooklyn Atlantis robot will keep track of water temperatures, pH, oxygen levels and other conditions before, during and after the process. The robot probe has two cameras to capture visuals – one underwater and one on the surface. Each camera will transmit images to Atlantis’ website every 30 seconds, yielding over 20,000 images a week. In addition to keeping track of the litter levels of the water, the probe will keep tabs on canal wildlife, monitoring whether the clean-up process has any effect on species or introduces new animals.
With help from high school students and teachers studying biology and environmental science, Porfiri and Nov will study the thousands of images taken to analyze the canal’s progress. Two more robotic vessels are planned to join the Brooklyn Atlantis 1 in 2014, making for an even more thorough analysis of whether the clean-up progresses as expected.
Via Phys Org