Laura is approximately 35cm in length, with a main hull width of approximately 8cm and a maximum width (including propeller nacelles) of approximately 20cm. She has three engines, two for horizontal thrust and one for vertical movement. Her top cover is removable, to allow access to her power cell, engine test mechanism, radio emitter and receiver, and sonar equipment. There is additional space inside her main body for other mechanisms and equipment to be added to suit the purposes of the mission. Attached to her hull are four removable sample collectors.
Laura was designed to be deployed on ice-covered planets such as Europa, and so her deployment capsule is fitted with an ice-boring capsule. This capsule uses heaters to melt a small tunnel through the ice, assisted by gravity, or, if gravity is insufficient, by treads. Once it reaches liquid water, the capsule hooks itself into the ice shelf, and remains there while Laura detaches.
Once separate from the capsule, Laura uses active and passive sonar to observe her surroundings, and transmits the information back to the capsule via radio signals. These signals are then relayed by the capsule to the Habitat via a tether cable. Likewise, control signals from the Habitat are sent through the tether to the capsule, which then transmits them to Laura using radio.
Deployment Capsule Redesign
Laura was to be used again in the Silver Seas 2018 and had to have a new deployment capsule made as the old one was nowhere to be found. The new capsule was planned to consist of a bucket which Laura went into, which was then attached to a pulley system held in place by a tripod. The pulley system would lower Laura as the drill at the bottom of the bucket drilled into the surface. Unfortunately, only the bucket portion could be finished in time for the mission that year, so further work would need to be finished after the mission.
Laura is remote controlled from inside the Habitat, using software designed by Jim Magwood. This software allows the user (typically a Mission Specialist) to control the submersible's attitude, velocity, depth, and sample collectors by means of a rudder, dive planes, three propellers, and ballast loads. The software also gives the user a graphic display of Laura's passive sonar, active sonar, and fathmometer readings, as well as giving numerical data on water temperature, depth, and sonar contact distance.
Laura was contributed to by several members of OCESS, in an intermittent Task Force spearheaded by Mission Commander Maclean Rouble. Contributors included Jane MacLeod and Christian Angel. She is built primarily out of black PVC tubing, with clear plexiglass sides and lid. The sample collectors follow the design of syringes, and have matching sample storage containers aboard the Habitat in the form of narrow, clear plastic cylinders.
- Laura's name is a reference to the 2004 television series Galactica, which featured a specially-designed stealth spacecraft known as "Laura", named after the dying Colonial President, Laura Roslin, a primary character in the show.
- Laura is painted yellow, as a reference to the Beatles' song, "Yellow Submarine", which has been rewritten by OCESS members on many occasions and is a prominent part of Sim Lore.
- Laura arguably is an acronym which stands for "Lightweight Aquatic Underwater Reversible Appliance"
- Laura was sucked into a wormhole in the oceans of Europa during Drake-Sagan 2011 and was not encountered again during that mission. However, she managed to respawn in Keplernicus. This is the best evidence we have that Moogles can travel through wormholes.
- It is possible to operate Laura at nearly zero power cost by strategically filling and refilling her air bladder, although this is very slow. It is also possible to operate her at negligible cost by using only her fans, which is a common and well-regarded Laura strategy. There are rumours of an arcane art by which Laura can be driven faster and more agilely backwards than forwards, but this knowledge is thought to have been temporarily lost after the Laura-intensive mission in 2011