The Research Vessel (R/V) Atlantis . . .
is the third vessel to be the support ship for the submersible Alvin. The Atlantis was new to the US Oceanographic reseach fleet in 1997. The vessel is 273.2 feet (82.2 m) in length and has a cruising speed of 12 knots. It is equipped with 3,517 sq. feet of laboratory space, and three permanently installed oceanographic winches used to deploy scientific instrumentation, and worldwide voice, data and internet communications.
More information on Atlantis is available at WHOI. . .
Where is Atlantis now?
The Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin . . .
is owned by the US Navy but operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as a national oceanographic facility. A typical eight-hour dive in Alvin can take two scientists and a pilot as deep as 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). At maximum depth, it takes about two hours for the submersible to reach the seafloor and another two to return to the surface. That leaves four hours of working time on the bottom for photography, sampling, and experiments. Alvin can hover, maneuver in rugged topography or rest on the bottom.
Alvin carries quartz iodide and metal halide lights to illuminate the deep ocean, allowing observation through three 12-inch diameter viewports. Cameras are mounted on the exterior, and Alvin also has two manipulators and a front-mounted basket for collecting research samples.
What did 9 North look like in June 2006?
See frame grabs from Alvin . . .
About the name
R/V ATLANTIS . . .
Prior to Atlantis, Alvin was on the Atlantis II, from 1983-1996. So why is the current ship not named "Atlantis III"?
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's (WHOI) first research ship was named "Atlantis" and the name has continued. Although the current ship would logically be called "Atlantis III," the Navy will no longer allow numbers after the name, hence the name is simply "Atlantis." As most oceanographic ships remain in the fleet for >30 years, we will be sailing on Atlantis for a long time to come.
Plans for a new
ALVIN . . .
Alvin made its first dive in 1964, hence is over 40 years old. The vehicle has been continuously upgraded, with major overhauls occurring approximately every 3 years. Alvin has made more than 4000 dives for a wide range of research projects.
Some of the more famous Alvin expeditons: surveying the sunken Titanic, locating a hydrogen bomb accidentally dropped in the Mediterranean Sea in 1966, and of course—discovering and exploring deep sea vents.
Plans are underway to replace Alvin with a deeper-diving submersible. The vehicle will also have more viewports to allow scientists an improved view of the seafloor. It will be at least several more years until this new vehicle is completed.