Jer Thorp

By their nature, expeditions are dangerous. Wild animals, treacherous terrain, painful labor—a lot is risked in sending groups of people into the extreme. So why do we do it? Historically, the answer has been one of two things: for money, or for measurement. In the first case, expeditions might have brought back tons of ivory,...

Sitting in a submersible 650 meters beneath the ocean  is a surprisingly serene experience. The pitch and roll that you feel at the surface disappears moments after you’ve submerged, and from then on you exist in a sphere of perfect stability. When the sub reaches the bottom, the pilot adjusts to a neutral buoyancy so...

The graphic above is a visualization of more than 4,700 of the submersible Alvin‘s dives, over the last 5 decades (click it to view a larger version). I made it to get a better understanding of what a ‘typical’ Alvin dive might be—as you can see, there turned out to be quite a range. While...

Alvin is almost certainly the world’s most famous submersible. For 50 years, this little sub-that-could has been plunging into some of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, carrying researchers to depths of more than 4,000 meters* to perform a myriad of scientific and non-scientific tasks. Alvin has recovered a stray hydrogen bomb from the bottom of the...