Human-occupied submersible ‘Alvin’ makes historic dive
New England Council member, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution launched their research, human-guided submersible ‘Alvin’ making history by reaching a depth of 6,453 meters. The three-person crew guided the submersible in the Puerto Rico Trench, which is located off the north side of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This accomplishment follows an 18-month overhaul and upgrades of the technology available to the submarine. Due to Alvin’s successful launch, this now puts 99% of the seafloor available for the submersible to explore.
The submersible is well-known around the world for being an icon of excellent scientific data collecting and engineering. ‘Alvin’ is one of the only U.S. submersibles that have the equipment to carry humans and gather scientific data from extreme depths. Since its initial launch, ‘Alvin’ has carried out 5,086 successful dives. Its long history goes back to when Wood Hole’s scientist Robert Ballard used ‘Alvin’ to explore the world-famous wreckage of the HM Titanic. This summer ‘Alvin’ went through an intense series of sea trials overseen by the NAVSEA, an organization responsible for building U.S. Navy ships. The trials permitted ‘Alvin’ to dive to its maximum depth. The next step for ‘Alvin’ will be a two-week NSF-funded verification expedition to determine if ‘Alvin’ can maintain its ability to support deep-sea scientific research.
Woods Hole President and Director Peter de Menocal said, “[i]nvestments in unique tools like ‘Alvin’ accelerate scientific discovery at the frontier of knowledge. Alvin’s new ability to dive deeper than ever before will help us learn even more about the planet and bring us a greater appreciation for what the ocean does for all of us every day.”
The New England Council would like to commend Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on its successful launch and its continued commitment to building technology to explore our world.
Read more from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.