As in ancient works of Jules Verne, four robots tried to emulate the voyage of the Nautilus, the mythical ship of Captain Nemo, and managed to break a world record for distance traveled at sea.
It traveled 20,000 leagues under the sea but 3,200 nautical miles (about 5,926 kilometers) in the Pacific Ocean.
But his goal was not the record, the artifacts are part of a project to collect information on the composition and quality of seawater. Built by the U.S. company Liquid Robotics, is expected to cover four PacX Wave Gliders 9,000 miles nmi (16,668 km) to the end of their journey.
The first stage of its journey from San Francisco to Hawaii, lasted four months. The robots are designed to reach previously inaccessible areas of the ocean and gather information on how acidic the water is gone and the reduction of fish stocks.
The previous Guinness record for the longest distance in the sea by a navigational device was 2,500 miles (4,630 kilometers).
"No doubt that will generate new oceanic discoveries, a new understanding and new applications to group root PacX data," says Edward Lu, head of innovative applications in Liquid Robotics.
The robots left the yacht club of St Francis, in the port of San Francisco on November 17, 2011.
Each robot is comprised of two halves, the top has the shape of a surfboard atrophied and is fastened by a wire to a lower part having a plurality of fins and a keel. To move not use gasoline but use wave energy to move forward.
Solar panels installed on top of numerous sensors robots feed every ten minutes to collect data on salinity, water temperature, climate, fluorescence and dissolved oxygen.
After stopping in Hawaii, the quartet is split. Two robots will continue to Japan, crossing in the process the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest point on Earth. The second pair will swim to Australia, Ecuador past the Earth.
The researchers involved hope the two teams of robots to reach their destinations at the end of 2012 or early 2013.