About the DEPTHX Project

The Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) project is creating the autonomy needed to enable an underwater robot to map three-dimensional spaces like flooded caverns and mines. Together with our partners we are creating a vehicle that will first explore the depths of the Zacatón Cenote in central Mexico. This scientific investigation is seeking to understand the unique organisms that survive in this, the deepest flooded sink hole in the world.

The goals of the DEPTHX project are: exploration of an unmapped underwater caves and tunnels; three-dimensional mapping of volumetric extent; modeling of environmental parameters and their gradients; characterization of localized site to identify region candidates for biological investigation; automated image and data collection with in-situ analysis for adaptive sampling.

The DEPTHX project is led by Stone Aerospace who designed and integrated the vehicle. Southwest Research Institute has built the science payload for science investigators from the University of Texas at Austin, Colorado School of Mines, and NASA Ames Research Center. Carnegie Mellon is developing the navigation and guidance software to map the cenote and autonomously execute the exploration strategy.