The AUV SIRIUS. Photo: Robin Beaman
A bright yellow research submarine has gone missing off Queensland's Moreton Island and scientists are hoping it may wash ashore or turn up in a fisherman's net.
The $500,000 unmanned vessel, technically a remote-controlled integrated marine observing system named AUV Sirius, is operated by the University of Sydney's centre for field robotics.
Associate professor Stefan Williams said the submarine was being used last weekend by university scientists and the CSIRO to map kelp and coral on the sea floor east of Moreton Island.
The Sirius had completed its mission and shut down, he said, but before it could be hooked up to the recovery vessel, something went wrong and it suddenly dived out of sight. Professor Williams said it was 1.5 metres wide and 2 metres long, and was fitted with a radio beacon and an emergency strobe.