Robots: The New Face of Environmental Crisis Management

You may have heard that there’s one heck of an oil leak right now in the Gulf of Mexico, which is currently oozing out some 42,000 gallons a day. But what you may not know is that robots are working overtime to help control the situation before it gets even more out of hand. According to the New York Times, there are a fleet of remote control robots operating some 5,000 feet beneath the ocean, doing what they can to stop the flow of oil and get things under control. As you can imagine, getting human beings down such a distance would pose quite the challenge, but in spite of the fact that the operation is not as swift as experts had hoped, the robots are our best hope.

The article explains:

The robots were trying to activate a device known as a blowout preventer, a 450-ton valve at the wellhead that is designed to shut off a well in the event of a sudden pressure release.

If the robots don’t work, the hope is that teams can design a dome to contain some of the oil to prevent further harm to wildlife in the area. Not only is the oil toxic to any marine life, but also the chemicals crews are sprinkling into the ocean—known as dispersants—which help to break down the oil.

At the moment, in spite of robots and futuristic domes, time is of the essence. The effects of a spill of this magnitude will have a dire impact on the industry and environment, and while no cause has been pinpointed, the sooner this mess can get under control, the better. Where’s a Transformer when you need one?