Transformers…Ocean Science Style

FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is "flipped" to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet. Photo from MPL.

I waited patiently for Transformers the movie to release.  Luckily the dialogue, plot, and having to suffer through what Megan Fox tries to pass as acting were balanced by big ass robots transforming into cars.  And with even lower expectations based on some of the worst movie reviews to grace the English language, I like a mindless cow watched Transformers 2. Unfortunately the dialogue, plot, and having to suffer through what Megan Fox tries to pass as acting were not balanced by big ass robots transforming into cars.

Thankfully, I still have real life.  FLIP, the Floating Instrument Platform, is towed to an area in a horizontal position and through changing the ballast flipped into a vertical position.  In the flip postion, most of its 355 foot length resides underwater providing a stable observational even in the roughest seas.  Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at Scripps and owned by the US Navy, FLIP set to sea in 1962.

Dr. M (1606 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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