I know I am going to sound like a party pooper saying this but oceanographic AUV's and drifters (instruments without propulsion) are nothing new to science. Attaching a solar
cell to one and having it go 9000 miles is new, but it is not a technological accomplishment. It's more of a ploy to attract media attention. You can bet the next thing they do is to have one circumnavigate the world, which again does not advance science. The data gathered for useful research
and not the distance traveled is what advances science.
Oceanographers know that the longer you leave an instrument in the water
the greater your chances are of the instrument failing, getting damaged or disappearing. The real cost is not the cost of the instrument but the loss of the data. Data becomes really expensive when you have to hire a ship and the people to deploy the instruments. Therefore the advantage is to have the instrument in the water
as little as you need it for collecting the data needed for the project
. Not all data is uplinked. Crossing oceans is not the best idea if you want to maximize the chances of recovering the data.
Sometimes the media act as useful idiots for advancing someones fame, career or for promoting their business. All they need is a gimmick or a twist on an old idea and they are all over it...(nope, not gonna say it)
There are already larger and smaller AUV's and drifters out on and under the ocean at this moment collecting all kinds of valuable data, which does not make this story seem as sensational.
Taking an oceanographic instrument is considered stealing by oceanographers. Good luck trying to sell something anywhere near its cost when the oceanographic community is so small and would not purchase
stolen property in the first place. Maybe the instruments could be taken apart and sold for parts
for one cent on the dollar on the black market. I hope the guilt would eat up anyone who considers adding to their cruising kitty in this way. Science grant money
is not easy to come by. I know 99% of us would not do this. Maybe 10% of those on Sailing Anarchy would...just kidding.