Jason (ROV)

Jason is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) designed and built by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory to allow scientists to have access to the seafloor without leaving the deck of a ship.

Jason arm samples fluid at the West Mata undersea volcano
Name: Jason
Builder: WHOI
General characteristics
Tonnage: 4.5 tons
Length: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Beam: 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)
Height: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: Six brushless DC thrusters each providing 250 lbf thrust
Speed: 1.5 knot forward, 0.5 knot lateral, 1.0 knot vertical
Endurance: theoretically indefinite
Test depth: 6500 m
Sensors and
processing systems:

Attitude Two-axis clinometer, 0.1 degree resolution

Heading Flux-gate compass, 0.1 degree resolution Gimballed gyro, 0.1 degree resolution

Pressure Depth Bulk semiconductor strain gauge, 1m resolution


120kHz updating at 2Hz, 33 meters range, 0.1 m resolution

Video Two surface-selectable channels from the following: One single-CCD-chip color One three-CCD-chip color One single-CCD-chip black and white, aft looking

Still Camera 35mm, 400 frames with either 16mm or 28mm lens

Electronic Camera Marquest Model 9100 camera

Lighting One 200 watt-second strobe One 300 or 600 watt-second strobe Three 250 watt incandescent lamps Two 400 watt HMI lights

SImagenex 855 scanning sonar with forward imaging or profiling head

Payload: 50 kg

Umbilical: 35 meters, 18 mm diameter, neutrally buoyant

Navigation Long base line responder or relay transmitter/receiver

7-12kHz vehicle powered or battery operated for emergency location

Jason is a two-body ROV system. A 10-kilometer (6-mile) electro-optical-mechanical tether delivers electrical power and commands from the ship through Medea and down to Jason, which then returns data and live video imagery. Medea serves as a shock absorber, buffering Jason from the movements of the ship, while providing lighting and a bird’s eye view of the ROV during seafloor operations.[1]

Built and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Jason is equipped with sonar imaging as well as video, still, and electronic cameras and appropriate lighting gear. It carries precision navigation equipment and sensors for depth, vehicle attitude (tilt), and altitude from the seafloor. Jason's manipulator arms can collect samples that may be put in a small basket attached to the vehicle or, for heavier items, on an attached "elevator" platform that carries them to the surface.

A prototype of Jason called Jason Jr. was used with Alvin to explore Titanic in 1986.[2]


  1. "Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason/Medea". NDSF Vehicles. WHOI. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  2. Ballard, Robert (2008). Archaeological Oceanography. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 102, 104. ISBN 978-0-691-12940-2.
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