DSV Alvin

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Alvin (DSV-2) is a 16-ton, manned deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The vehicle was built by General Mills' Electronics Group[1] in the same factory used to manufacture breakfast cereal-producing machinery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Named to honor the prime mover and creative inspiration for the vehicle, Allyn Vine, Alvin was commissioned on 5 June 1964. The submersible is launched from the deep submergence support vessel Atlantis, which is also owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI. The submersible has taken 12,000 people on over 4,000 dives to observe the lifeforms that must cope with super-pressures and move about in total darkness. It is said[who?] that research conducted by Alvin has been featured in nearly 2,000 scientific papers.

Alvin was designed as a replacement for bathyscaphes and other less maneuverable oceanographic vehicles. Its more nimble design was made possible in part by the development of syntactic foam, which is buoyant and yet strong enough to serve as a structural material at great depths. The three-person vessel allows for two scientists and one pilot to dive for up to nine hours at 4500 meters (15,000 ft). The submersible features two robotic arms and can be fitted with mission-specific sampling and experimental gear. The hatch of the vessel is 0.48 meters (19 inches) in diameter and somewhat thicker than the 2 in (50 mm) thick titanium pressure hull,[2], and held in place by the pressure of the water above it (it is tapered, narrower inward).


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