An ocean-saving device deployed in September to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has malfunctioned and will have to be towed back to port.
During a routine inspection on Dec. 29, crew members discovered that a 60-foot end section of one of the booms that scoops up trash from the surface of the ocean had detached, 23-year-old inventor Boyan Slat wrote in a Jan. 1 blog post.
"Although it is too early to confirm the cause of the malfunction, we hypothesize that material fatigue (caused by about 106 load cycles), combined with a local stress concentration, caused a fracture in the HDPE floater," Slat wrote.
There's a lot more posted on the Ocean Cleanup website.
Happily, they're not giving up:
We are returning to port with terabytes of data that we will use in coming weeks and months to develop the necessary upgrades.