Screenshot of Virtual Dive

Virtual Dive
Take the DeepWorker on a simulated dive through the Monterey Bay kelp forest.

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See the DeepWorker submersible in action.
(Requires RealMedia player.)

The workhorse of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions was an amazingly maneuverable one-person submersible that can dive untethered to 2,000 feet (607 meters). A mere eight feet (2.4 meters) long, five feet (1.5 meters) wide, and six feet (1.8 meters) high, the battery-powered DeepWorker sub is so lightweight that just leaning to one side causes it to tilt.

Steering and thrusting with foot pedals, DeepWorker's pilot can travel up to four knots in any direction. The nearly 360-degree field of vision provided by the craft's clear acrylic dome allows an aquanaut to take in plenty of underwater action. To document the mysterious world of the sea, DeepWorker comes equipped with still and video cameras, a hydrophone for recording ocean sounds, sonar, and a mechanical arm for collecting samples.

Carbon dioxide scrubbers and external tanks carrying a 72-hour supply of oxygen make possible far longer submersion times than allowed by scuba technology, while the sub's climate-controlled pilot capsule eliminates the risk of nitrogen narcosis, decompression sickness, and other health hazards associated with scuba diving. In an emergency, with the pull of a lever, the command module will separate from its base and pop up to the ocean's surface like a cork.


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