The Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College is hoping for the go-ahead to buy a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV submarine.
The college's trustees will be voting on the purchase at their meeting tonight.
The submarine is about the size of a microwave oven. It can dive to the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay and transmit video and sonar images to researchers on the surface.
Hans Van Sumeren, who directs the Water Studies Institute, says having an ROV would open a whole new world.
"Just going down to the bottom of the bay, going down 400 or 500 feet under water and seeing what it's like," he says. "It's fascinating because none of us have been there. It's just too deep."
The ROV costs about $60,000 dollars. If the college's board of trustees approves the purchase, it could be delivered to the Water Studies Institute before the end of spring.