Drew Beweley / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

World - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Reveals Upgrades to Human Occupied Vehicle Alvin Submarine

One of the world’s most prolific research submersibles will put 99% of the ocean floor within reach of science community when it relaunches in 2021

Increased depth range and the ability to explore 99% of the ocean floor, including the abyssal region—one of the least understood areas of the deep sea—are just some of the upgrades underway for the iconic human-occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin that were unveiled today at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting 2020. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Portland State University, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shared details on the upgrades, the importance of human exploration of the deep ocean, and what new science questions they hope to answer when Alvin dives again in September 2021.

Participating in today’s event were Bruce Strickrott, WHOI Group Manager and Chief Pilot of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin; Adam Soule, Chief Scientist of the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) at WHOI; Dr. Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Professor of Microbiology in the Biology Department at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon and current chair of the Deep Submergence Science Committee (DeSSC); and Chad King, a research specialist at NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) in California.

Alvin is one of the most recognized deep submergence vessels in the world and the only one in the U.S. capable of carrying humans into extreme ocean depths. The sub has completed 5,065 successful dives, more than all other submersible programs worldwide combined.

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