At 0800h this morning, we recovered Jason from dive J2-515. We accomplished a lot during the ~60 hour dive, including: 1) vertical HD photomosaics of 11 vents in the International District and at ASHES; 2) RESON surveys of the International District and a potential secondary cable route across the southern region of Axial’s caldera; and 3) reconnaissance surveys of the International District and the candidate site for the Primary Node.
As soon as the ROV was back on deck, the Jason crew began converting the vehicle from a configuration that includes a drill sled rather than its normal configuration with a tool/sampling sled. This drill will be used to bore a couple holes in the walls of a black smoker. Sensors will then be placed in the drill holes. The sensors will monitor the temperature of the system as well as the microbiology that thrives within the walls of the vents. This conversion, which the Jason crew will complete over the next ~24 hours, is a delicate one and requires very calm seas to maneuver the swap out of the tool sled for the drilling sled.
For the first dive with the Jason drill-sled configuration, we will continue to work in “survey mode." The photomosaicking camera and strobes will be mounted to the drill sled as will the HD video camera that we have been using throughout the cruise. Once all of the surveying objectives have been completed near the end of the week, we will recover Jason, remove the photomosaicking camera, strobes, and sample boxes and then transition the vehicle into “drill mode."