Lights out!

This week we suffered an unexpected 10 minute power outage in the middle of a full and active science day. Here’s a brief outline of the chaos that ensued during those 10 minutes:

  1. All analytical machines in the labs shut down immediately, right in the middle of sample runs. Data loss was minimal, however, these instruments typically take 1-3 hours to calibrate and start up at the beginning of the day, so many people had to back-track and start from square one. (Luckily team mercury had just pulled an all-nighter so our instruments were in rest mode).
  2. Drain pumps shut off, including the ones that move water down to the holding tanks. In the main lab sink drains backed up damaging some electronic gear close to the floor.
  3. The ship had no propulsion system leaving us dead in the water, which leads to our most calamitous event of the day. During this time we had a wire with particle pumps down over 3000 meters; when the ship lost power we drifted over the wire, dragging the bottom two pumps on the ocean floor. The pumps survived but the wire was badly damaged from being pulled underneath the ship and needed some repairs. Below you can see the wire unspooled and stretched out for damage patrol.

Power outages are not all that uncommon on a ship, we were lucky to have the expertise of the engineers and marine technicians to get everything back up and running!wire small


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