An international team of geologists, glaciologists, cavers, geographers and biologists led an expedition to study the deepest known Greenland moulins. This is the name given to narrow and very deep holes in the ice sheet of this island. The nature of moulins is practically not studied, ice at great depths behaves unpredictably, therefore, for the first time in history, robots of a new type were used to study them - with spherical collision protection.
The expedition took place back in 2018, but the video of drone flights through the moulins was published only now. The technology itself is also not innovative, the researchers used Elios quadcopters from Flyability, the ideological successors of the Gimball model. Their chassis is engineered to carry a carbon fiber grill that surrounds the drone to form a sphere. This lattice takes impacts and allows you not to fear accidental collisions with the walls of the cave - before working in the difficult conditions of Greenland, scientists tested drones in the Swiss Alps, and then in an array of caves in Sicily.
The object of interest of scientists is located 80 km from the Kangerlussuaq settlement. The maximum depth to which the speleologists managed to descend into the Moulin was 130 m.The drone, thanks to protection and LED floodlights, under remote control, went deeper 300 m.Here, the members of the expedition were able to see the sources of the rivers that flow under the ice, and even find previously unknown science subglacial lake.