Boaty McBoatface takes to the seas

Alain Brian
Mars 19, 2017

Last year, the Natural Environment Research Council in the United Kingdom asked the public to name a polar research ship.

Research submarine Boaty McBoatface is being sent on its first science mission in Antarctica. The remotely operated vessel, named by a public poll gone wrong (in the eyes of the British government at least), is set to study the "deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth" - known as Antarctic Bottom Water - which have outsize influence on the world's oceans.

There's still hope for Boaty McBoatface.

Despite its huge popularity and the surge of copycats such as "Trainy McTrainface" and "Horsey McHorseface", the council ditched the name and ended up naming the $300 million state-of-the-art vessel after broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. As a consolation prize to the more than 120,000 votes Boaty received, NERC gave the already-legendary name to three mini-submarines that will accompany mother ship Attenborough and aid in underwater research. But the agency wasn't completely deaf to the power of the web: it made a decision to award the tongue-in-cheek name to the much smaller research submarine, which is now in Punta Arenas, Chile. And the internet chose Boaty McBoatface - because the internet is awesome.

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