Robot heading for Antarctic dive

The mysteries of the Antarctic deep will be probed by a new vessel capable of plunging 6.5km (four miles) down.

Isis, the UK’s first deep-diving remotely operated vehicle (ROV), will be combing the sea-bed in the region in its inaugural science mission.

Researchers hope to uncover more about the effects of glaciers on the ocean floor, and also find out about the animals that inhabit these waters.

The mission begins in mid-January and will last for about three weeks.

While the scientists and engineers begin their long journey to the Antarctic at the start of January, Isis left the UK shores in November and has only just arrived at its destination.

Once unpacked from its containers, the ROV will be placed aboard the British Antarctic Survey’s ship – the RSS James Clark Ross – ready to explore the Marguerite Bay area on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Diving deep

With Isis, scientists hope to bring the UK to the forefront of deep-sea research.

The submersive vessel, which is based at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton, was built in the US in collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

The project cost about