August 8, 2017
THE UNITED STATES RESEARCH FLEET is made up of dozens of vessels, large and small, that take scientists out to sea to collect data on the ocean and climate and marine life, and most of them look like regular old boats or barges. But not the Research Platform FLIP, short for Floating Instrument Platform. It looks like the bow of a regular boat, chopped off and tacked onto end of a submarine. FLIP lives up to its name; it’s designed to do what no other boat does without sinking—flip a full 90 degrees by submerging 300 feet of its hull and leaving just 55 feet of bow above the water. The result is a quiet, stable platform for precise scientific measurements at sea.