submersible

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submersible,

small, mobile undersea research vessel capable of functioning in the ocean depths. Development of a great variety of submersibles during the later 1950s and 1960s came about as a result of improved technology and in response to a demonstrated need for the capability to visit the ocean depths to make direct observations and measurements, to recover lost equipment, and for possible rescue activity. Submersibles are constructed in a variety of sizes and shapes and are designed to perform different and often highly specialized tasks. All contain power sources and one or more sensors, among them lights, photo and video cameras, sonar hydrophones, instruments for measuring environmental parameters, side-scanning sonars, and geophysical devices (magnetometer, acoustic profiler, gravimeter). Some also have mechanical arms (manipulators) to collect samples and perform other modest tasks outside the vessel. Manned submersibles also have a crew compartment within a pressure hull and life-support systems. The modular construction of some vehicles permits easy modification of them for different operational tasks.

In recent years, it has become clear that special purpose, unmanned submersible vehicles can augment or replace manned submersibles. There are two basic types of unmanned submersibles. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is controlled from the surface by a tether, or cable, which is used to transmit power to the vehicle and serve as the medium through which the video signal and other sensor data are transmitted to the surface. The untethered ROV, more generally called an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), eliminates the cable and carries its own power. Because of the drastically reduced bandwidth and transmission delays inherent in tetherless underwater communications, these vehicles roam freely using onboard computers to run preset missions. Transmission of instructions to, and video information from, the vehicle is accomplished by means of an acoustic communication link. Some manned submersibles are equipped to carry ROVs to allow exploration of areas too small or dangerous for direct observation by the submersibles themselves.

Submersibles are being used in an increasing number of applications. In addition to salvage and rescue missions, submersibles are used for laying pipelines underwater, for work on offshore oil drilling platforms and wellheads, and for seafloor mapping, underwater surveys, and tunnel and aqueduct inspections.

Most modern submersibles are descendants of the first diving sphere (bathysphere), developed in the 1930s, and the more mobile submarine, which cannot operate at great depths. The inherent danger in a bathysphere was its inability to surface on its own accord, being raised and lowered by a winch system on a surface vessel. In 1954 one of the first types of submersible, the bathyscaphe, was designed and successfully tested by Auguste PiccardPiccard, Auguste
, 1884–1962, Swiss physicist, b. Basel. He became a professor at the Univ. of Brussels in 1922. He and his twin brother Jean Felix (d. 1963) are known for their balloon ascents into the stratosphere; in Aug., 1932, Auguste ascended to 55,500 ft (16,916 m).
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 to overcome this problem and to provide limited maneuverability. A bathyscaphe is in effect an underwater balloon. The cabin is suspended beneath a large flotation chamber that contains gasoline and iron pellets. Submersion is accomplished by release of some gasoline, rendering the craft heavier than water. To rise, some of the iron-shot ballast is released. A second model of the bathyscaphe, called the Trieste II, carried two men to a record-breaking depth of 35,800 ft (10,900 m) at the bottom of the Marianas trench in 1960.

One of the most impressive submersibles is the Aluminaut, constructed of high-strength aluminum alloys and able to operate at 15,000 ft (4,570 m) carrying a crew of six. The Alvin, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is capable of diving to depths of 13,000 ft (3,960 m) with a crew of three and, like the Aluminaut, is equipped with mechanical arms. In 1974 the Alvin and two French submersibles, the Archimède and Cyana, were used in a joint French-American venture, project FAMOUS (for French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study), to learn more about seafloor spreadingseafloor spreading,
theory of lithospheric evolution that holds that the ocean floors are spreading outward from vast underwater ridges. First proposed in the early 1960s by the American geologist Harry H.
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. The Alvin was also used to photograph and retrieve objects from the Titanic after its discovery in 1987. In 1998 the French manned submersible Nautile, two manned Russian Mir submersibles, and assorted AUVs were used to raise a 22-ton section of the Titanic's hull. In 2012 James CameronCameron, James,
1954–, Canadian motion-picture director and screenwriter, b. Kapuskasing, Ont. Beginning as a screenwriter and then art director, he first directed in 1981.
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, in the submersible Deepsea Challenger, became the third person to descend to the Challenger Deep (35,798.6 ft/10,911.5 m deep) in the Marianas TrenchMarianas trench,
 Marianas trough,
or Marianas deep
, elongated depression on the Pacific Ocean floor, 210 mi (338 km) SW of Guam. It is the deepest known depression on the earth's surface, having been measured by various means at 35,760–36,089 ft
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.

submersible

, submergible
1. a vessel designed to operate under water for short periods
2. a submarine taking one or more men that is designed and equipped to carry out work in deep water below the levels at which divers can work
References in periodicals archive ?
We've adopted a very different look compared to traditional submersibles, but without compromising safety and ease of use - the ability to easily board the craft at the surface, for example.
Thanks to AMS and the Sub Aspida, we have been able to ensure everyone in the submersibles has been safe from potentially harmful gases at all times.
After using the manned submersible Alvin to collect samples of species from the Juan de Fuca Ridge under the northeastern Pacific Ocean, the team discovered 38 deep-sea limpets (Lepetodrilus gordensis) among their specimens.
If successful, the China-made submersible would be the first manned vehicle to reach such a depth.
In 2000, Langford began developing plans and designs for his very own personal submersible, which is basically a small submarine, usually built for one or two people.
As a marine geologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, Humphris often works aboard a submersible named Alvin.
ITT Flygt, Thompson Announce Marketing Agreement Thompson Pump, Port Orange, FL, has entered into a comprehensive marketing agreement with ITT Flygt, the leading supplier of electric submersible pumps to the construction, public works and industrial sectors.
Hawkes, the architect of manned submersibles and unmanned, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), creates underwater craft that have more in common with ocean mammals than with the first generation of submersibles.
com/research/lc2zmk/analysis_of_the) has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "Analysis of the North American Submersible Pump Market: Investments in Water and Wastewater and Revival of Construction Industry are Key Drivers of Growth" to their offering.
OceanGate's expertise with underwater vehicles, and manned submersibles in particular, is exactly the kind of solution we believe could increase our rate of delivering safe and efficient services to our clients, especially in the areas of potentially polluting wrecks and difficult salvage operations.
According to Bert Houtman, founder of U-Boat Worx, "My vision has always been to create a series of safe and reliable submersibles that provide a unique underwater experience.
The deep sea, not space, is the latest frontier for achieving new records of exploration, and Hawkes Ocean Technologies (Hawkes) is leading the way with its series of winged submersibles that fly through the water, operating much like underwater aircraft.