According to a press statement from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on Thursday, the human-occupied submersible Alvin accomplished the deepest dive in the 58-year history of the legendary submersible when it successfully reached a phenomenal depth of 21,325 feet (6,453 meters) (WHOI). North of San Juan, Puerto Rico, near the Puerto Rico Trench, the incident happened.
need for U.S. Navy certification
It took 18 months to rebuild and improve the sub’s maximum driving range from 14,800 feet (4,500 meters) to its current limit of 21,325 feet, and the dive was a crucial step in getting certified by the US Navy to restart operations (6,500 meters). This procedure was carried out since the certification dive must be between 6,200 and 6,500 meters according to Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) regulations.
According to WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal, “Investments in special tools like Alvin accelerate scientific discoveries at the frontier of knowledge. “Alvin’s new ability to dive deeper than ever before will help us understand even more about the planet and give us a greater appreciation for what the ocean does for all of us every day,” the statement reads.
Alvin is the only deep submergence vessel in the world that can transport people to such great depths and carry out an ocean floor research project. With its dive on Thursday, the sub has successfully completed 5,086 dives, surpassing the total of all other submersible programs worldwide.
The ship does roughly 100 dives a year on missions to investigate the mechanisms that build Earth’s crust, the environmental factors that support life in harsh environments, and the enormous diversity of deep-sea life.
According to Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby, Chief of Naval Research, “For almost 60 years, the deep-submergence vehicle Alvin has unveiled the mysteries of the ocean—not just for the military and national security objectives but also for the benefit of society as a whole.”
A NAVSEA test
The NAVSEA, which designs, constructs, and maintains U.S. Navy ships and submarines, has been in charge of overseeing Alvin’s sea trials for the previous three weeks. These included evaluations of its electrical and mechanical systems as well as its capability to function safely underwater. These tests were successful, and the company was given the go-ahead to resume operations and dive to a new record-breaking depth.
Vice Adm. Bill Galinis, Commander of NAVSEA, said, “Working with the Woods Hole and ONR team to certify Alvin has been an honor for us. “At NAVSEA, we like to say we expand the Navy’s warfighting advantage, but because of our world-class engineers and deep submersion capabilities with Alvin, we are now expanding scientists’ ability to understand more about inner space.”