Robot of the Week: Nereus, underwater robot reaches bottom of Mariana Trench

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A robot called Nereus, designed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, has become the third robot in history to reach the deepest abyss in the ocean, in the Mariana Trench some 11,000 feet below sea level.

Nereus is a hybrid vehicle, which can be remotely operated via fiber-optic tether, or converted to an autonomous vehicle capable of exploring the ocean on its own. It weighs 3 tons, is electrically powered, and uses a manipulator arm to dig in ocean soil and retrieve a variety of samples, including plants, animals, and rock.

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The X PRIZE Foundation is proud to be exploring new incentive prizes that could drive innovation very similar to the Nereus voyage. While over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, only 2% of the ocean's depths have been explored. The economic potential from mineral, fuel, biological, and medical discoveries should not be underestimated.

Robots like Nereus are next step in the burgeoning exploration of our Earth's uncharted regions, and are leading the way to a new era of ecological preservation and understanding. We salute the Woods Hole team, and their robotic, oceanographic, and scientific partners around the world.
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