Secrets of the deep revealed

With a little help from MIT’s Engineering & Manufacturing department, two ships – lost in a violent storm nearly 3000 years ago – have been discovered 1,000 feet under the Mediterranean Sea.

The Phoenician ships, believed to be the oldest ever found in the deep sea, were found by Jason, a remotely operated vehicle which scans the ocean bed at depths way beyond the reach of scuba divers.

Jason, built at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and designed by Professor David Mindell from MIT, is equipped with lights and cameras which transmit images to a ship-based control room.

However, the robot is equipped with a new instrument, also designed by Mindell, which provides detailed sonar map images of the whole site, including parts of the ships submerged in mud. The `sub-bottom profiler’ achieves this feat using narrowly focused sound beams.