Earlier this year, Robot magazine introduced readers to the Kickstarter project initiated by the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) to build a robotic underwater exploration vehicle to explore the fascinating geothermal environment beneath the surface of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. We were pleased to learn that the Kickstarter was successful in raising over $100,000 toward the construction of this ROV, named Yogi after the bear with a taste for picnic baskets who inhabited the Hanna-Barbera version of Yellowstone Park in the popular children’s cartoon.
The team from GFOE was able to build and deploy the robot this past summer, spending three weeks exploring Yellowstone Lake during the month of August and helping researchers to learn more about the unique geological and biological processes that take place up to 400 feet under the lake’s surface.
We were able to visit the GFOE team at their workshop in Rhode Island and “meet” Yogi while he was under construction and will be publishing an article in a future issue about some of Yogi’s unique features and the team’s work in Yellowstone.
In the meantime, we were excited to receive a press release from the foundation recently announcing that video and images from Yogi’s work in Yellowstone are now available online.
Yellowstone Lake’s Unique Environment
Yellowstone Lake is a special environment in that it, along with much of the park, sits atop a hot spot that conducts heat from the earth’s mantle to the crust. A large reservoir of hot and partially molten rock that lies beneath the park powers a wide range of geothermal features, including geysers like the famous Old Faithful, hot springs and mud pots. These features are visible throughout the park but they also exist beneath the lake’s surface where they are difficult to sample and to study. The reasons to study these features include attempting to better understand Yellowstone’s volcanic system and the many organisms that live in this unique environment, some of which may push our understanding of life itself to new limits.
We look forward to sharing more with you about Yogi in Robot magazine and invite you to take a look at these stunning images from Yellowstone Lake: