Sir Patrick Stewart is supporting a Kickstarter campaign to collect biological data from whales.
The campaign, called Snotbot, seeks to collect “data from the fluids emitted by the whales through their blowholes” while avoiding “harassing the whales in the process.”
A Snotbot is a “custom-built drone created in partnership between Ocean Alliance and Olin College of Engineering. [The drone hovers] in the air above a surfacing whale and collect the blow (or snot) exhaled from its lungs. Snotbot then returns that sample back to researchers a significant distance away.”
The lung lining sample retrieved allows researchers to “see virus and bacteria loads, analyze DNA, and look for environmental toxins that have been absorbed into the whale’s system.” Hormone levels are also checked, which provides information on reproductive cycles and stress levels of the whales.
Stewart has been supportive of other ocean-based projects, being a long-time backer of the Ocean Alliance and “its explorations of the deep.”
The Snotbot campaign runs through August 25 and seeks to raise $225,000. To learn more and to donate, head to the link located here.
Source: The Gloucester Times