At Rutgers University, students and faculty at the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (RU COOL) are currently working on a research project called the Challenger Glider Mission. A symbolic recreation of the first global scientific survey conducted by the HMS Challenger in 1872, the mission will “fly” 16 autonomous underwater gliders worldwide, covering all five ocean basins. From 2014 to 2016, these gliders will provide data and insights needed for researchers to better understand the ocean’s role in our changing climate, enabling more accurate weather and ocean forecasting.

Where does Iridium fit into this phenomenal project? Each glider will fly a 6,000 – 8,000 kilometer leg, and capture continuous readings of ocean temperature, salinity, and currents. Iridium, through its global satellite circuit switched data service, will provide primary two-way communications to the gliders. When each glider surfaces, it will use the Iridium® network to transmit its data to researchers.

Iridium’s network is uniquely suited to this kind of research project. Unlike other solutions, the Iridium network provides coverage globally, pole-to-pole. This level of coverage, along with the Iridium network’s superior availability and reliability, is necessary to ensure connectivity and successful transmission of data.

Thanks to these efforts, Rutgers University, supported by Iridium, will be able to collect an unprecedented amount of data that will better equip researchers with tools to predict the ocean’s future and its impact on global weather. Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet, and we’re proud to be part of this important work.