“Sharkcano.” It’s not the title of some campy summer blockbuster, but rather a real-world phenomenon that went viral in 2015, when scientists on a National Geographic expedition found sharks living inside one of the most active underwater volcanoes on Earth. Not surprisingly, the team was eager to go back and learn more, but how do you explore an environment that could easily kill you? You send in robots, of course.
“Our goal is to send instrumentation there to get meaningful data, but sometimes it’s really fun to just blow stuff up,” says National Geographic explorer and ocean engineer Brennan Phillips.
Brennan reunited with his 2015 expedition mates—Alistair Grinham of University of Queensland and Matthew Dunbabin of Queensland University of Technology and Director of GFB Robotics—to once again venture about 20 miles off the coast of the Solomon Islands to the Pacific Ocean’s violent Kavachi volcano.
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