Alvin we hardly knew ya

9 Aug

While its ultimate fate is unknown, I just want to give a shout out to Alvin on his retirement.

Alvin, the small white transport that changed undersea science, will be replaced in four years by a $21.6 million vehicle designed to go deeper faster, the National Science Foundation said Friday. The old sub has made roughly 4,000 dives, spending a total of more than three years underwater.

Alvin was instrumental in confirming the theory that the sea floor was expanding along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and in uncovering the existence of hydrothermal vents in the Pacific. In 1966, it retrieved a hydrogen bomb that had fallen into the Mediterranean after the collision of a B-52 and a tanker plane. Dr. Robert D. Ballard later used it to explore the wreck of the Titanic, and other scientists have recorded more than 300 new species, including bacteria, clams and tube worms, from inside the sub's hull.

While they haven't named Alvin's successor yet, I think it would be fitting to call it Simon. Alvin thanks for all the coolness you've showed us at the bottom of the sea.

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