"Waldo" To Prowl Florida Keys for Oil

Mote Senior Scientist Gary Kirkpatrick with an underwater glider
SARASOTA (2010-07-16) -

Where's Waldo? This Waldo will be cruising around the Florida Keys - literally. The six-foot-long, bright-yellow underwater robot will be launched Monday, on a month-long mission to search for oil in the Gulf.

Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory is launching the water-borne glider to prowl the loop current off the Keys. This is the second trip for the vehicle, which didn't find any oil when it was first launched just weeks after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Mote senior scientist Gary Kirkpatrick says even though the well has apparently been capped, there's enough oil still moving around. He says it will be for some time.

"I think essentially there's still the same probability of oil reaching the Keys as it was the day before yesterday," he said.

Even though no oil has been found, satellite images have shown some "sheen" in loop current, which curves from the middle of the Gulf around the Keys, into the North Atlantic.

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