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Submarine Tech Reaches For Deep Ocean Record

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @06:59AM (#35951210)

    That's really impressive.

    • by daem0n1x (748565) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:05AM (#35951442)
      Thanks for the information. Slashdot should adopt a policy, like Wikipedia, that all measurement units should be metric with the alternatives in parenthesis. This way, everybody would be happy. Slashdot has editors. Is it so hard for them to fix this?
      • I think in metric myself, but really, this is very far down the list of things I want the editors to be more diligent about.

        In fact, at this point the entire editing process is far down the list of Slashdot annoyances: the freaking browser window keeps scrolling up several pages to expand the fucking parent post when I just want to middle- or right-click a link, leaving it up to me to find the post and sentence I was just reading. I swear I have never seen a more aggravating non-feature than this.

        (PS: I kno

        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          In fact, at this point the entire editing process is far down the list of Slashdot annoyances: the freaking browser window keeps scrolling up several pages to expand the fucking parent post when I just want to middle- or right-click a link, leaving it up to me to find the post and sentence I was just reading. I swear I have never seen a more aggravating non-feature than this.

          (PS: I know I can just disable the new UI to stop Slashdot from messing with mouse clicks. I actually like the new UI, but I might have to do that. I keep hoping they're going to fix it RSN.)

          This. A million times this.

      • by jittles (1613415) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:04AM (#35951788)

        Thanks for the information. Slashdot should adopt a policy, like Wikipedia, that all measurement units should be metric with the alternatives in parenthesis. This way, everybody would be happy. Slashdot has editors. Is it so hard for them to fix this?

        I'm sorry but that is the most asinine comment I have read all day. All month even. What's the point of using the metric system when we have the Library of Congress system. If you're dealing with something that cannot be converted to the Library of Congress system, then it must not be worth mentioning.

        • by mangu (126918)

          Wait, the Library of Congress is only one of the dimensions. The others are the Volkswagen Beetle and the Football Field.

          • by sconeu (64226)

            For those playing the home game, 36000 ft is 120 Football Fields

          • by EdIII (1114411)

            Remember those are units of measurement for weight, but not really for volume.

            If you need a volume comparison, use Fizzle Sticks.

        • by owlstead (636356)

          184.6 LoC's deep, for your convenience :)

          Doesn't sound like much really.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Funny but when I watch Top Gear UK they actually say things like "miles per hour", "miles per gallon", "zero to sixty", and "quarter mile time". When I read the UK magazine Bike I see many of the same measurements but most frustrating is that they give the size of the fuel tank in liters but the fuel economy in MPG! Same thing when I read UK car magazines. When I go to car websites in the UK they also have MPG listed.
        So do the whiners spend as much time on the Top Gear website and sending letters to the edi

        • by daem0n1x (748565)

          So do the whiners spend as much time on the Top Gear website and sending letters to the editors, letters to the BBC, and complaining to the car companies about them using miles, gallons and so on as they do when a US based website does?

          I have no idea, I don't live in the UK. Last time I was there, they were using the metric system in a half-assed way. They half-ass many things, like their membership in the EU, for instance.

          You realise that this website, although US-based, is used by people all around the world, don't you?

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            You do realize that it is a US based website in english don't you? Sure people come from around the world but it is a US based site and will be from a US point of view. To complain about that is as rude as someone from the US going to a French site written in French and then complaining that they didn't put measurements in feet and inches as well as metric! How closed minded and rude to come to a US website and not embrace the cultural differences!

            • by daem0n1x (748565)

              You do realize that it is a US based website in english don't you?

              What has language got to do with it?

              Sure people come from around the world but it is a US based site and will be from a US point of view. To complain about that is as rude as someone from the US going to a French site written in French and then complaining that they didn't put measurements in feet and inches as well as metric!

              The vast majority of the population of the world doesn't have an idea what an inch is. The metric system is the standard measurement system, in a French website or other.

              How closed minded and rude to come to a US website and not embrace the cultural differences!

              Many Americans complain about the absurd measurement system that only you use, in this very website. I just agree with them.

              • by LWATCDR (28044)

                So they can look it up in Wikipedia. The vast majority of people have no idea what the Arc de Triomphe is or Trafalgar Square is or if you want to uses units of measurements a pascal, newton, or tor. A few Americans may take issue with standard measurements but most like myself can convert between them with ease. Now if you want to talk about absurd measurement systems Celsius wins in my book. WHY THE HECK DID THEY PUT 100 degrees between freezing and the boiling point of water! I am fine with them using th

      • by sjames (1099)

        Just remember, 3 feet in a yard, 1 yard + 3 inches in a meter. Perhaps we should ease the transition and start using the 13 inch "metric foot" analogous to the 2200 pound/1000 Kg "metric ton"

    • by sirdude (578412)
      Thank you!

      God-damned Troglodytes.

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Isn't it ironic that the the Imperial unit system is primarily last used by a rebel colony that gained it's independence over 200 years ago :)

      Even the UK has switched over to metric with very few exceptions. The only one I think of off the top of my head is that beer is sold in pints. Which does make some sense.

      I am seriously, which sounds cooler?

      "Give me a fucking pint right now!" or "Give me fucking .47 liters!"

      I would say just round it off to a half liter, but even that does not sound as good as pint.

    • by waddgodd (34934)

      It's an ocean depth, it should properly be in fathoms. SI doesn't apply to nautical charts, they're still in NMi and fathoms (it's 6033 fathoms, BTW)

  • FTA: "They call it the pressure boundary," said Raggio. "It's the boundary between you and instant death."

    Okay then, where do I sign up...?

  • Transparent Aluminum (Score:2, Interesting)

    by broggyr (924379)
    I am surprised no one said "Transparent Aluminum" yet. "How do we know he didn't invent the thing?!"
    • Because it's just glass, not transpartent Aluminum (which has been around for quite a while now too).

    • by Eccles (932)

      I was thinking more like a General Products Hull.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's almost 11 kilometres for the rest of the world, about 95% of it.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Doesn't sea depth have its own units? If you're going to use archaic units you could at least use the right ones....

      • by treeves (963993)

        When I was a submariner, we would use feet and fathoms in different cases, e.g. the 100 fathom point, before which we would not dive, and test depth, which we referred to in feet (it would have been a non-integer number of fathoms anyway).

    • Why are you guys so hung up on this sort of thing? 95% of the world's population is idiots, too. Should we emulate that as well?

  • Where is this "Mariana Trench"? Is it deep?

  • WOW! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisebabo (638845) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @07:26AM (#35951292) Journal

    So I'm astonished that (they claim) they'll be able to make a FULL SPHERE of glass as opposed to some puny porthole.

    Some questions:
    A part (half?) of the sphere will have to be removed to allow people/things in and out (unlike "ecospheres") it can't be seamlessly sealed. Isn't that the most likely place of failure?

    I assume there will have to be holes to allow power, cooling/heating, communications right? Another point of failure?
    (Actually I read a story where some grad student had figured out a way of transmitting powe/communications THROUGH a submarine's metal hull using sonic waves.)

    Where in the world will they test this thing to one and a quarter times the max. pressure? (And I thought engineering standards were to one and a half max.)

    • A part (half?) of the sphere will have to be removed to allow people/things in and out (unlike "ecospheres") it can't be seamlessly sealed. Isn't that the most likely place of failure?

      I would expect that with the proper "gasket" between the two halves, the outside pressure would seal it even more than you could otherwise expect.

      Keep in mind that it'll have something like a thousand atmospheres of pressure holding the two parts connected, provided the sphere and gasket can hold up to the pressure.

    • by vlm (69642)

      When I was a kid, I wanted to make one of these to dive to the bottom of the 60 foot lake in our backyard, sorta...

      So I'm astonished that (they claim) they'll be able to make a FULL SPHERE of glass as opposed to some puny porthole.

      Probably Plexiglass. Plexiglass is a trademarked brand name. Everyone else calls it acrylic or PMMA. My grandfather's B-17 had a hemisphere of plexiglass for the "ball turret". Lexan (tm) aka polycarbonate would have been a heck of a lot more bullet proof, other than it was invented by the Germans, and in 1953, a bit late for the war. Anyway, two acrylic hemispheres is a traditional design

    • by Solandri (704621)

      A part (half?) of the sphere will have to be removed to allow people/things in and out (unlike "ecospheres") it can't be seamlessly sealed. Isn't that the most likely place of failure?

      Benthos [benthos.com] already makes glass floatation spheres (they provide buoyancy for deep-water submersibles and platforms). They're cut so the two halves fit perfectly (or as near to perfect as mechanically possible with current technology). It's precise enough that even though the cut appears flat to the eye, the two halves are keye

    • by owlstead (636356)

      "A part (half?) of the sphere will have to be removed to allow people/things in and out (unlike "ecospheres") it can't be seamlessly sealed. Isn't that the most likely place of failure?"

      Well, *technically* you could make the person part of a mould and then seal them in, breaking the glass when the adventurer returns (or keep them as a souvenir), but I presume they've thought of another solution.

  • Crib notes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @07:28AM (#35951300) Homepage
    "We're going to repeat something that was already done 50 years ago, except we're be filing patents to stop anyone else doing it again. Click here to invest."
  • Title needs work (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @07:37AM (#35951326)

    Bad title considering that (as the article states in the first paragraph) Trieste made it to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean (Challenger Deep in Mariana Trench) in 1960 with a crew of two. I'd say they have the record and since you can't go deeper...not sure it can be broken unless the ocean changes depth there.

    Trieste info:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathyscaphe_Trieste

    If you're in the DC area the Washington Navy Yard museum (open to the public) has Trieste hanging in the back (right next to Alvin -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSV_Alvin which was used to explore the Titanic). It's worth the trip if you're local or you've been to DC enough that you're not interested in going to the Air and Space museum again.

    Museum visit info:

    http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org8_Visit.htm

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      It may be an accurate title but in a nit picking sort of way. The Trieste was not a submarine but was a bathyscaphe. I believe that it used a guide line and was not freely maneuverable. But in general I would agree with you that it was the first and so far only.

      • by sjames (1099)

        A bathysphere is tethered, a bathyscaphe DOES free dive, but has severely limited maneuverability compared to a submarine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also the article says that borosilicate is another name for soda-lime glass, which it isn't. Borosilicate is the good, strong, high temperature glass. Soda lime is the cheap, easy melting bulk glass.

    • And the Trieste's sister, Trieste II [wikipedia.org] ), is on display (along with a bunch of other cool stuff) at the Naval Undersea Museum [navy.mil] at Keyport, WA.

      Google Maps link [google.com].

      You're wrong about Alvin though, she's still in operation. The DSV exhibited at the Navy Yard Museum is either DSV-3 Turtle [wikipedia.org] or DSV 4 Sea Cliff [wikipedia.org] . They do both look like Alvin and were built using spare spheres originally ordered for Alvin though.

  • Didn't Richard Branson already announce plans to visit the deepest point of all the oceans, so I presume he already has the technology to do this?

  • BLUE HADES is not going to be happy about this.

  • It would have been better had the simply built a drone craft, sent it to the bottom and THEN ANNOUNCED IT. That would have a dramatic impact. More importantly, it would enable a major push for them on new crafts.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Disagree, if you want media attention you need to get them in before it happens. Trying to get attention for something that already happened is difficult at best unless it is basically unignorable.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      I would not be surprised, personally, if this announcement was actually just a means of generating additional funding needed to complete the development of the project.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      And what would be so remarkable about a drone craft going to the ocean's floor? That wouldn't even be news. This project isn't very groundbreaking either. Humans have already been to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, 50 years ago, in the Trieste. Who cares if it wasn't technically a "submarine", it was a craft which carried humans and let them look around at the ocean floor firsthand and brought them back alive. That's close enough for me.

  • by clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:48AM (#35952134)

    TFA: "Borosilicate glass, also known as soda-lime glass..." That's like saying "Bronze, also known as brass..." The two are compositionally quite different.

    Pyrex (R) is Corning's trademark for the borosilicate type and it is commonly used for laboratory ware, oven windows and such. It was also used for the big 200 inch (a bit under 5 meters) mirror at Mt Palomar. [wired.com]

    Soda lime glass is the more common type used for windows and beer bottles. You can quickly tell the two apart by looking edge-on into the piece, soda lime glass has a greenish cast.

  • I mean come on it's 2011 for cripes sake. We went nearly that deep back in the 60's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathyscaphe_Trieste [wikipedia.org]
  • The hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle "Nereus" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nereus_(underwater_vehicle) [wikipedia.org] and http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=10076 [whoi.edu] uses ceramic ball technology for buoyancy, and it's been down in the Challenger Deep, so the idea of a ceramic ball withstanding the pressure is credible. However, Nereus uses a large number of little ceramic balls, not one large (people-holding) ceramic ball, so there is some testing to be done, I think!
  • From the article:

    Rayotek CEO Bill Raggio: "You can hire some giant squid to come over with a sledgehammer and just start bashing away on that glass sphere. And it won't hurt it."

    I'm sold. If there's anything I fear more while in my personal sub than sharks with head-mounted-lasers, it's hired squids wielding sledgehammers.

    Also those homeless sperms whales that approach your sub at the intersection and want to squeegee your front porthole for spare change are annoying too.

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