Boaty McBoatface is back with data from the ocean’s freezing abyss

After three missions on a seven-week maiden voyage, the celebrated yellow submarine Boaty McBoatface has returned home with what scientists are calling “unprecedented data about some of the coldest abyssal ocean waters on Earth.”

The long-range robotic submersible (or autosub) set out from Chile in March with its operators from the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre to explore a region known as the Antarctic Bottom Water. Its mission was to record data on the temperature, speed of water flow, and underwater turbulence rates of a region in the Southern Ocean known as the Orkney Passage. Now it returned home from a job well-done.

Boaty McBoatface came to prominence last year when the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked the internet to pick a name for the United Kingdom’s new $300 million polar research ship. Voters overwhelming chose the name Boaty McBoatface. But the Science Ministry wasn’t having it. Instead, they went with RRS Sir David Attenborough and attempted to appease voters by giving the name to the autosub.

To some, NERC’s denial of the vote felt like a denial of democracy itself. And even though the autosub is not exactly a boat with a discernible face, its independent nature and go-getter approach to mission in hostile environments — during its voyage, Boaty made three deep dives, venturing nearly 112 miles at depths over 13,000 feet in waters that were sometimes below freezing — make the endearing name appropriate.

The region Boaty explored is deep underwater but it offers unique insight into the mechanisms of the ocean and the impacts of climate change. The Orkney Passage is an important “valve,” reports the BBC, where built-up heat energy is redistributed in the climate system. By studying these regions, scientists hope to develop models to understand and predict the development of the climate in the coming centuries.

“Fresh from its maiden voyage, Boaty is already delivering new insight into some of the coldest ocean waters on Earth, giving scientists a greater understanding of changes in the Antarctic region and shaping a global effort to tackle climate change,” Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said in a statement. “Future Boaty missions and the new RRS Sir David Attenborough research vessel will ensure the U.K. continues to punch above its weight and lead the way in polar science, engineering and technology as part of our industrial strategy.”

Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

This startup will sequence your entire genome for free — but there’s a catch

Want to get your DNA sequenced but don’t want to shell out the hundred bucks or so to do so? A new startup called Nebula Genomics offers you the opportunity to have it done for free.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!