New Robotic Vehicles to Explore the Deep Ocean

Molly Curran
Mechanical Engineer

Deep Submergence Lab
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Advancing technology for ocean research not only enhances the understanding of our own ocean but can help inform the search for life on ocean worlds beyond Earth and lead to a deeper knowledge of the Earth’s climate regulation. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has designed vehicles that can operate in the some of the world’s harshest and most remote environments, including hadal trenches and under arctic sea ice, to help scientists gain a better understanding of the unforgiving environments we may encounter on other planetary ocean worlds throughout our solar system. We are also designing new vehicles to study an area of the ocean that is home to the largest migration on the planet, the twilight zone, which plays an important role in carbon transfer and climate change. Operating robotic vehicles in the deep ocean is an endeavor that comes with many challenges, but allows us to investigate areas of our Earth that have never been explored before. 


Molly Curran is a mechanical engineer in the Deep Submergence Lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She grew up in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania and, in 2015, received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Ocean Engineering at UNH. Since working at WHO, she has participated in more than 15 ocean expeditions aboard research vessels all around the world—including areas off the coasts of Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, Alaska, and the east and west coasts of the US. When she is in the office, she does mechanical and system design work on deep sea vehicles including ROVs, AUVs, hybrid vehicles, and towed instrumentation systems. Molly love sports and the outdoors including boating, hiking, skiing, and traveling.