Alvin, which is owned and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been in operation since 1964. It was affectionately named after WHOI engineer Allyn Vine, whose influence was pivotal in Alvin’s conception. A legendary figure at WHOI, Vine first envisioned a deep-sea research vessel in the 1930s when he was a graduate student in physics.
Alvin Alvin was the first deep-sea submersible capable of carrying passengers, usually a pilot and two observers. Its first untethered dive measured 35 ft. Now, after numerous upgrades and reconstructions, Alvin can plunge to a maximum depth of 14,764 ft.
Alvin Just as the space shuttle is built to withstand the near total vacuum of outer space, Alvin is built to withstand the crushing pressure of the deep ocean. The titanium-hulled sub can remain submerged for 10 hours under normal conditions, although its life support system will allow the sub and its occupants to remain underwater for 72 hours.
Delta The Delta submersible is the primary tool for exploring the deep water environments of the submarine canyons. Delta can dive to a maximum depth of 365 meters and can cruise along the ocean bottom at 1.5 knots.Delta The sub is only 4.6 meters in length and 1.1 meters wide.
Delta It houses camera and navigation systems and a variety of sampling systems and holds 2 occupants: a scientist and a pilot. The scientist is often lying on his or her side or stomach aiming a hand-held video camera out one of the viewports. The pilot sits upright on a seat and looks out through the top (conning tower) of the sub, where the viewports allow for a 360-degree view of the surroundings.
Delta The Delta allows divers to come nose-to-nose with canyon creatures at 100-300 meters. The sub has logged more than 6,000 dives since 1987 and dives approximately 334 times per year.
In 1987 International Submarine Engineering in British Columbia began construction of the ROV which was given the Spanish name for its destiny: “Ventana” or “window” into the ocean depths. Ventana acquired its first customized instruments: a broadcast-quality video camera in a custom-built aluminum housing and a CTD unit for measuring conductivity (as a proxy for salinity), temperature, and depth.
Ventana Ventana’s capabilities have evolved over time, with the acquisition of high-intensity, lights, scanning sonar, flowmeters, oxygen sensors, a transmissometer, structured light system, a high-definition video camera, and assorted still and low-light cameras. Over the years, Ventana has explored the ocean to depths of 1,700 meters and has logged more underwater dive time than any other research ROV in the world, having performed more than 3,000 dives.
Jason/Medea is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system designed by the Woods Hole oceanographic Institution’s Deep Submergence Laboratory for scientific investigation of the deep ocean and seafloor.
Jason It is a two-body ROV system, with Medea serving in a tether management role that decouples Jason from surface motion. Together they offer wide area survey capabilities with Jason as a precision multi-sensory imaging and sampling platform. Both Medea and Jason are designed to operate to a maximum depth of 6,500 meters (21,385 feet), are transportable, and can be operated from a variety of vessels.
AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE)
ABE (Autonomous Benthic Explorer) was developed by a team of engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. With a gross weight of 1500 lbs. and a maximum operating depth of 5,000 m, ABE has made approximately 80 dives to the deep seafloor.
Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) ABE particularly excels at near-bottom survey in rugged seafloor terrain. It has performed a variety of fully autonomous, precisely-navigated surveys, including fine-scale magnetic and bathymetric survey, photo mosaicking, and quantitative survey of hydrothermal plumes.
Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) Typical dives last from 16-34 hours, depending on the instrument payload and the bottom terrain. Recent additions to ABE include a multibeam sonar (SM2000), which was used on a recent survey of the Explorer Ridge. ABE often operates independent of the surface vessel, allowing the ship to perform other tasks beyond acoustic range of the vehicle.
The Trieste was a Swiss-designed deep-diving research bathyscaphe ("deep boat") with a crew of two, which reached a record-breaking depth of about 10,911 metres (35,797 ft), in the deepest known part of any ocean on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, on January 23, 1960.
Trieste In April 1963, Trieste was modified and used in the Atlantic Ocean to search for the missing submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593). In August 1963, Trieste found the wreck off the coast of New England, 8,400 feet (2.56 km) below the surface. Trieste was changed, improved and redesigned so many times that almost no original parts remain. The Trieste was transported to the Washington Navy Yard where she was placed on exhibit along with the Krupp pressure sphere in the National Museum of the U.S. Navy at the Washington Navy Yard in 1980.