Sci & Tech

Sr. Patrick Stewart Needs Your Help Capturing Whale Snot With Drones

'Snot Bots' capture samples of mucus and biological material from whales without disturbing the wildlife.

Sr. Patrick Stewart’s involved? Now your attention has been captured.

‘Snot Bots’, tiny drones directed to fly into the cloud of spray exhaled from a whale when it surfaces, are collecting samples of mucus and biological material without disturbing the animal.

Iconic actor Sr. Patrick Stewart is teaming up with Ocean Alliance in partnership with Olin College of Engineering for a Kickstarter campaign that intends to fund three Snot Bot expeditions. The drones will be sent to Mexico, Argentina, and Alaska to study the marine mammals and the oceans they live in to help with their conservation.

The team’s mission is to raise $225,000, and Stewart has offered his assistance to ensure the goal is met. (Who can turn down Professor X, after all?)

In the video above, Stewart is followed around by researchers interested in studying his behavior and collecting his snot. Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr then explains the benefits of the ‘Snot Bots’.

Custom-built, the drones are designed to hover safely above the whale and collect the “snot” without disturbing it. They will collect DNA, hormones, determine viruses and bacteria loads, and also retain other important data giving researchers a clear picture of the animals’ state of being and their natural environment. The best part is that the samples are taken on the whale’s terms.

The drones are also cheaper, lighter, and fast than current methodologies. Many also believe that the bots will also give a greater understanding of current threats presenting themselves to the wildlife.

At present, the campaign has raised $21,000 and has just one month to go. You can get involved and support the campaign here what snot to like about it? 

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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