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Swimmers Matt Skorina and Kaitlyn Beardshear prepare Alvin for recovery after a dive. Skilled divers attach lines that allow for the 40,000-pound vehicle to be winched back up to the research vehicle Atlantis after a day of exploration. (Photo by Marley Parker ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) There is brief discussion about the difficulty of getting…

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The human-occupied submersible Alvin is ready to return to scientific research at its newly certified maximum depth of 6500 meters (4 miles). That’s the conclusion of a team of scientists who have spent the past three weeks taking the iconic sub through its paces at locations at the Puerto Rico Trench and Mid-Cayman Rise, testing its scientific…

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Members of the Alvin operations team enjoy early-morning coffee and conversation on the aft deck on August 18, 2022. In total, the whole team consumed 140 pounds of coffee. Photo by Marley Parker © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“The new capabilities of a 6500-meter rated Alvin will continue the tradition of enabling generations of scientists the opportunity to make discoveries that will change the way we view the ocean and our world,” Soule says. “It’s an honor to be a part of that tradition.”

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Members of the scientific and engineering teams on Atlantis align Alvin’s new lights on deck before taking them on their first dive. (Photo ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Below about 200 meters in the ocean, much of the light from the sun disappears, absorbed by seawater above. That means every glimmer used by scientists in Alvin…

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(CNS): Sabrina Douglas, assistant geographical information systems (GIS) and field support specialist at the Department of Environment, became the first Caymanian to dive the depths of the Cayman Trench inside Alvin, a specialist submersible, as part of an ocean exploration research project currently underway into this mysterious part of the Atlantic. Douglas is working aboard the Atlantis with…

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Artist Karen Romano Young sailed along with the science team during Alvin’s Science Verification Expedition and turned her eye to the people around her on the ship and the stories of how they got to do what they do. You can see more of her work at IWasAKid.com. Mackenzie Gerringer, State University of New York…

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The human-occupied vehicle (HOV) Alvin at the surface after a dive, during its recent science verification expedition at locations on the Puerto Rico Trench and Mid-Cayman Rise. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) The human-occupied submersible Alvin is ready to return to scientific research at its newly certified maximum depth of 6500 meters (4 miles).…

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Alvin expedition leader Randy Holt prepares the sub to launch during the science verification expedition. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) What are your responsibilities as expedition leader? I manage the mechanical and electrical teams that work on Alvin. I work with the ship’s chief mate to assign roles for launch and recovery…

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SUNY Geneseo biologist Mackenzie Gerringer retrieves a sample from Alvin’s suction sampler after her dive on the Cayman Rise. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Deep-sea habitats seem harsh from our perspective, with cold temperatures and a complete lack of sunlight. Pressures are high, reaching up to 15,000 psi at the ocean’s greatest…

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Sabrina Douglas, the first native of the Cayman Islands to dive in the Mid-Cayman Rise, emerges from HOV Alvin after her dive. (Photo by Marley Parker, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Inside Alvin, the radio crackles to life. The sub’s three occupants sit still and quiet, listening closely to the carefully scripted deployment sequence deployment.  The…

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