Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mermaid Sapphire: Back on the map

Have been visiting the MarineTraffic page to see when the triumphant Deepsea Challenge fleet will rematerialize; I could find nothing last night but this morning, Mermaid Sapphire was again visible, anchored at Ulithi, southwest of the Trench:
The engineering team is based out of Australia, so perhaps they're taking the sub back to deepsea HQ, the innovative workshop in Sydney known as Acheron Project Pty.  

I checked for Barakuda, mother ship of the twin landers Mike and Andrew, but it's not back on the AIS map yet. Since we don't know where it is, I can speculate freely, like so: maybe Barakuda went back to the most productive spot to date, the New Britain Trench, and is using the unmanned platforms to do more photography, attracting animals large and small with bait so as to snap their portraits. 

That would help perk up the scientists on the project, who perhaps were discouraged about the difficulties Deepsea Challenger had with its non-photographic science-gathering gear during evolutions: the manipulator arm, super-slurper, core sampler, and science door. 

The sub and landers are proving to be champs at video and photography ... as long as there's something to take pictures of.

Because so little technical detail has been released -- such as info about the Cameron-less test dive to the Challenger Deep, a few days before the March 25 solo dive -- I'll keep researching and let you know what turns up. Till then.

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