Yellow submarine: While the Beatles' Yellow Submarine looks very funky, the actual research yellow submarine cruising about in Lake Superior is much more plain.
Yellow submarine: While the Beatles' Yellow Submarine looks very funky, the actual research yellow submarine cruising about in Lake Superior is much more plain.Courtesy Wongx AT
In a collision of Beatles and Gordon Lightfoot song topics, an unmanned, small yellow submarine is puttering about the depths of Lake Superior, providing lake quality data to researchers back on shore. Launched earlier this week, the seven-foot-long, $74,000 device is on a two-week test run to see if it can prove to be a more cost-effective way of monitoring the lake's water quality than by using people on boats.

Is the sub's color a tribute to The Beatles? Not really. Creator Jay Austin of the University of Minnesota-Duluth told the Star-Tribune: "Yellow's the international color of research. It's an easy color to see in the water, so it's very typical to paint your equipment yellow. I've got a research buoy that's the same color."

And so far into the mission's run, no sign of any Blue Meanies in the great waters of Gitchigumi.

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