A new CSIRO blog and a new MNF ship – and she’ll be equipped for solar measurements

CSIRO has a new blog in its cyber-armamentarium, and it’s called Investigator@CSIRO. It was unveiled to the public today and it’s already full of images, videos and information about CSIRO’s Future Research Vessel Project and the new ship Investigator, which is currently under construction in Singapore. The team has even made LEGO® models that’ll be up for grabs!

When construction finishes next year, Investigator will be a scientific ship operated by the Marine National Facility (MNF) based in Hobart. Funded by the Australian Government and run by CSIRO, the MNF is available to all Australian scientists and international collaborators who are researching our oceans and atmosphere.

Graphic of RV Investigator, a new research vessel currently under construction.

Investigator will replace an old warhorse of Australian marine and atmospheric research, Southern Surveyor. Southern Surveyor is a former North Sea trawler that’s served Australian science for over 20 years. She’s carried out 111 voyages as the Marine National Facility vessel in this time and chalked up an astonishing 481,550 kilometers of travel. (That’s equivalent to going around the equator 12 times – further than the distance from the Earth to the Moon!) You can get a flavour of the research and discoveries the ship and its scientists have contributed to in the very reader-friendly set of annual reports, which also include maps of where the ship’s travelled in any given year. This year’s schedule is also there for you to check out, of which today’s departure to study the East Australian Current (yes, the one of Finding Nemo fame) is a part.

111 research voyages as the Marine National Facility vessel and counting: RV Southern Surveyor

Here on the solar blog we’re particularly interested to see that Investigator, like Southern Surveyor before it, will have a pyranometer on board similar to the one we have here at Newcastle. While we use ours to monitor how much solar energy is going into our solar towers and photovoltaic systems, theirs will gather data about how much sunlight shines onto the oceans and will help scientists learn about ocean heating.

Meteorology equipment on board Southern Surveyor (image courtesy Eric Schultz)

Subscribe to Investigator@CSIRO to read all about the Future Research Vessel Project and stay updated about the new ship’s progress.

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