A submarine named Alvin

I've been traveling for the last couple of weeks. One key stop: Woods Hole, Mass., where I got up close and personal with everybody's favorite research submarine. Originally commissioned in 1964, Alvin is currently disassembled as part of a regular maintenance inspection and overhaul. I got to go behind-the-scenes to check out Alvin and the RV Oceanus—a research ship also operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. This is a window on Alvin's old manned pod, a massive sphere that can hold two scientists. It's being replaced in the current retrofit, and this sphere will go to the Smithsonian. More photos to come ...


  1. What would we know about the deep oceans, with all their mystery, undiscovered alien (to drylanders) life forms, and critical effect on life on mother earth if we had given 1/10 of NASA’s budget to deep-sea explorers instead of making them continually retrofit fifty year old technology?

  2. Some designs Just Work, and give better bang for the buck if just given a technology refresh every decade or two.  Alvin is one example.  The Soviet Soyuz orbiter and launch system is another example – first launched in 1967, and still a workhorse with a good safety record.

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