RP FLIP, the Strangest Ship in the World

The U.S. Office of Naval Research owns a very strange piece of oceanographic equipment. It’s called the FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP), conceived and developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California. FLIP isn’t a ship, even though researchers live and work on it for weeks at a time while they conduct scientific studies in the open ocean. It is actually a huge specialized buoy. The most unusual thing about this ship is it really flips.

FLIP is 355 feet (108 meters) long with small quarters at the front and a long hollow ballast at the end. When the tanks are filled with air, FLIP floats in its horizontal position. But when they are filled with seawater the lower 300 feet of FLIP sinks under the water and the lighter end rises. When flipped, most of the buoyancy for the platform is provided by water at depths below the influence of surface waves, hence FLIP is a stable platform mostly immune to wave action. At the end of a mission, compressed air is pumped into the ballast tanks in the flooded section and the vessel returns to its horizontal position so it can be towed to a new location.

Source: http://sio.ucsd.edu/voyager/flip/index.html


Topographic Projections: Jim Sanborn

just a few images of these MASSIVE light projections on the landscape as a continuation of today’s meeting on land-art and non-site…

These are long exposures of the projection – so the full scheme can only be seen in photographs and they can only be captured during the night…


“These images were produced by direct, large format, light projection.  The projector, powered by a mobile generator, was moved from site to site.  All of the pieces were photographed at night using long exposures.  On moonless nights, the landscape was lit with searchlights.  The landforms themselves are quite large, requiring the projector and camera to be, on average, 1/2 mile away from the subject landscape.”