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Boaty McBoatface Makes Inaugural Voyage to Antarctica

16 March 2017

The autonomous underwater vehicle is a 3.62-meter-long, 700-kg "autosub" capable of traveling under ice at depths of up to 6,000 meters. The remotely operated underwater research vessel will be undertaking its first research mission as part of an Antarctic expedition that starts Friday, NPR reports. The information that it collects will help scientists to better understand how the ocean is being impacted by global warming.

Boaty McBoatface, of course, was the moniker that emerged triumphant in an online poll meant to name the newest research ship in the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council fleet.

Boaty McBoatface is ready for duty.

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.

The NERC, however, said it would have the final say, and that the most popular name would not necessarily be the one chosen. In a now-infamous event, the public voted for Boaty McBoatface, but the humourless British government deemed it unsuitable, choosing the much more boring name of Sir David Attenborough instead.

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Boaty is to depart Punta Arenas in Chile on 17 March with the DynOPO (Dynamics of Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition.

"Our goal is to learn enough about these convoluted processes to represent them in models that scientists use to predict how our climate will evolve over the 21 century and beyond", said lead researcher Dr. Alberto Naveira Garabato.

Boaty McBoatface is heading out to join the fight against climate change.

Scientists from the University of Southampton and the British Antarctic Survey will launch Boaty into what the survey group describes as "some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on Earth".

And as for Boaty's next big adventure, Britain's National Oceanography Center hopes the sub can make the first under-ice crossing of the Arctic, BBC reported, a novel feat slated for 2018 or 2019.

Boaty McBoatface Makes Inaugural Voyage to Antarctica