Epic moment a blue whale sneezes and blasts an overhead research drone with a salvo of ‘snot’

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The epic moment a blue whale sneezed and blasted an overhead research drone with a salvo of snot has been caught on camera. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a whale
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The epic moment a blue whale sneezed and blasted an overhead research drone with a salvo of ‘snot’ has been caught on camera.

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the ‘SnotBot’ — passing over the whale in Baja California as it spouted from its blowhole.

The SnotBot collects matter from this blow for scientists to analyse and learn more about how the whales live and their surround environment. 

Scroll down for video

The epic moment a blue whale sneezed and blasted an overhead research drone with a salvo of snot has been caught on camera. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a whale

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the 'SnotBot' passing over the giant marine mammal before it let out a mighty sneeze

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the ‘SnotBot’ passing over the giant marine mammal before it let out a mighty sneeze

‘From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,’ said Mr Miller.

‘Not everybody is as lucky as me.’

‘I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.’

‘It’s part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less.’

Mr Miller added that the SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales — include DNA, hormone and microbiome samples which offer clues about the mammal’s ecology and habitat — without any invasive procedures.

‘Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,’ Mr Miller said.

'From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,' said Mr Miller. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,’ said Mr Miller. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

'Not everybody is as lucky as me,' said Mr Miller. 'I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.' Pictured, SnotBot

‘Not everybody is as lucky as me,’ said Mr Miller. ‘I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.’ Pictured, SnotBot

The SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales without any invasive procedures, Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

The SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales without any invasive procedures, Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,’ Mr Miller added.

‘At Ocean Alliance, we believe that the solution is drones!’

‘The purpose of Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it.’

Contrary to popular belief, a whale’s blow is not made of water, but contains a mixture a hot air, bacteria and moisture than condenses in the cool air.  

The bot is loaded with petri dishes that allow it to collect blow which can be analysed by scientists and provide vital clues about the whale’s ecology and habitat.

For example. blow can contain samples a whale’s DNA, stress hormones, pregnancy hormones, microbiome and various other biological indicators. 

'If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,' Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,’ Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

'Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,' Mr Miller said. Pictured, a blue whale seen from a camera on-board SnotBot

‘Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,’ Mr Miller said. Pictured, a blue whale seen from a camera on-board SnotBot

'It's part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less,' Mr Miller said

‘It’s part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less,’ Mr Miller said

'The purpose of Ocean Alliance's SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it,' Mr Miller said

‘The purpose of Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it,’ Mr Miller said

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WHALE SONG?

For a long time it was believed that whales sang solely for mating purposes.

But some experts suggest the songs also help the mammals explore their surroundings.

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them.

Learning these songs may help whales pinpoint one another and group together better when in unfamiliar waters.

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them (file photo)

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them (file photo)

It is tricky for scientists to study how whales sing, as the shy beasts are notoriously difficult to observe, and each species vocalises differently.

Humpback whales sing using folds in the vocal box that vibrate at low frequencies as air is pushed over them.

It has been suggested they have special air sacs adjoining these vocal chords which connect to the lungs.

These allow the whales to pass air between their lungs, the sacs, and the vocal chords without losing any of their precious air supply.



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The epic moment a blue whale sneezed and blasted an overhead research drone with a salvo of ‘snot’ has been caught on camera.

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the ‘SnotBot’ — passing over the whale in Baja California as it spouted from its blowhole.

The SnotBot collects matter from this blow for scientists to analyse and learn more about how the whales live and their surround environment. 

Scroll down for video

The epic moment a blue whale sneezed and blasted an overhead research drone with a salvo of snot has been caught on camera. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a whale

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the 'SnotBot' passing over the giant marine mammal before it let out a mighty sneeze

Taken by Christian Miller, the footage shows his pioneering drone — dubbed the ‘SnotBot’ passing over the giant marine mammal before it let out a mighty sneeze

‘From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,’ said Mr Miller.

‘Not everybody is as lucky as me.’

‘I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.’

‘It’s part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less.’

Mr Miller added that the SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales — include DNA, hormone and microbiome samples which offer clues about the mammal’s ecology and habitat — without any invasive procedures.

‘Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,’ Mr Miller said.

'From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,' said Mr Miller. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘From what I get to hear, they seem to inspire people, and hopefully bringing more love and respect for our oceans,’ said Mr Miller. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

'Not everybody is as lucky as me,' said Mr Miller. 'I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.' Pictured, SnotBot

‘Not everybody is as lucky as me,’ said Mr Miller. ‘I have the privilege to be close to wildlife in some of the most stunning locations around the world.’ Pictured, SnotBot

The SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales without any invasive procedures, Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

The SnotBot drone allows scientists to get vital information from the precious whales without any invasive procedures, Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,’ Mr Miller added.

‘At Ocean Alliance, we believe that the solution is drones!’

‘The purpose of Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it.’

Contrary to popular belief, a whale’s blow is not made of water, but contains a mixture a hot air, bacteria and moisture than condenses in the cool air.  

The bot is loaded with petri dishes that allow it to collect blow which can be analysed by scientists and provide vital clues about the whale’s ecology and habitat.

For example. blow can contain samples a whale’s DNA, stress hormones, pregnancy hormones, microbiome and various other biological indicators. 

'If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,' Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

‘If we want to protect these animals, we need bold, non-invasive, innovative solutions that enable us to collect more affordable and better data for understanding these threats and how they are affecting the animals,’ Mr Miller said. Pictured, SnotBot flies over a blue whale

'Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,' Mr Miller said. Pictured, a blue whale seen from a camera on-board SnotBot

‘Whales and dolphins today face more threats than ever before, and these threats are diversifying and intensifying. Many are critically endangered,’ Mr Miller said. Pictured, a blue whale seen from a camera on-board SnotBot

'It's part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less,' Mr Miller said

‘It’s part of my job to bring the ocean closer to everybody, and trigger some changes to our impacts will become much less,’ Mr Miller said

'The purpose of Ocean Alliance's SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it,' Mr Miller said

‘The purpose of Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm, determining what data can be collected with a drone and how best to collect it,’ Mr Miller said

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WHALE SONG?

For a long time it was believed that whales sang solely for mating purposes.

But some experts suggest the songs also help the mammals explore their surroundings.

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them.

Learning these songs may help whales pinpoint one another and group together better when in unfamiliar waters.

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them (file photo)

Researchers have recorded humpback whales changing their calls when they move to new pastures in order to match the songs of others around them (file photo)

It is tricky for scientists to study how whales sing, as the shy beasts are notoriously difficult to observe, and each species vocalises differently.

Humpback whales sing using folds in the vocal box that vibrate at low frequencies as air is pushed over them.

It has been suggested they have special air sacs adjoining these vocal chords which connect to the lungs.

These allow the whales to pass air between their lungs, the sacs, and the vocal chords without losing any of their precious air supply.



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