You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Woods Hole’s underground fleet

In late May, off the coast of New Zealand, the intrepid deep sea robot explorer Nereus imploded some 6 miles beneath the surface of the sea. The loss of the $8 million unmanned sub, built at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, was a costly blow to undersea exploration. But Nereus was just one member of a menagerie of undersea robots that are giving scientists their best glimpse yet of the most unexplored environment on Earth. Woods Hole may be the closest thing to a deep sea equivalent of NASA, a home for deep sea exploratory vehicles in all shapes and sizes -- autonomous, remote controlled, one with room for a crew. It operates a National Deep Submergence Facility, which acts like a sophisticated rent-a-car operation, loaning out its underwater robots to research teams. Plans are already in the works for another robot that will be able to dive as deep as Nereus, but meanwhile, here's a look at the rest of the family.

All vehicles to scale. Click on them for more information

DATA: Woods Hole, NOAA, Smithsonian Museum, Kongsberg Maritime, Webb Research, Bluefin Robotics

Chiqui Esteban / Globe Staff. Intro text by Carolyn Johnson

Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.