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Schedules can be found at http://strs.unols.org/public/diu_schedule_view.aspx?ship_id=10001&year=2008&oldredir=y
WHOI operates the U.S. Navy-owned Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin for the national oceanographic community. Built in 1964 as one of the world’s first deep-ocean submersibles, Alvin has made more than 4,400 dives. It can reach nearly 63 percent of the global ocean floor. Using six reversible thrusters, Alvin can hover, maneuver in rugged topography, or rest on the sea floor. Diving and surfacing is done by simple gravity and buoyancy—water ballast and expendable steel weights sink the sub, and that extra weight is dropped when the researchers need to rise back up to the surface. The sub is equipped with still and video cameras, and scientists can also view the environment through three 30-centimeter (12-inch) viewports. Because there is no light in the deep, the submersible must carry quartz iodide and metal halide lights to illuminate the seafloor. Alvin has two robotic arms that can manipulate instruments, and its basket can carry up to 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of tools and seafloor samples. Though it is the world’s oldest research submersible, Alvin remains state-of-the-art due to numerous reconstructions made over the years. (For instance, a new robotic arm was installed in 2006.) The sub is completely disassembled every three to five years so engineers can inspect every last bolt, filter, pump, valve, circuit, tube, wire, light, and battery—all of which have been replaced at least once in the sub’s lifetime.
Liz Caporelli
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
38 Water St. Mail Stop-37
Ship TypeDeep Submergence Vehicle
Operating Area
Endurance3 miles
Crusing Speed.5 knots (2 knots maximum)
Lab Space
Power Availability57.6 kwh
Berthing Space2
Deck Space
Telemetry AvailableThe Alvin data system consists of multiple Alvin computers and various measuring instruments. The Alvin computers are IBM compatible with PIII processors and 128MB of memory running the Win2000 operating system. USB, RS-232, RS-485 and ethernet interfaces
29 Mar 2010 14:38