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)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Updated list of D-Chall dives

James Cameron, Sylvia Earle, and John McCosker can be heard in the first half of today's Science Friday on NPR. 

Google-users can now dredge up a few more bits and pieces about D-Chall's construction details, as posted by companies or experts who participated. I'm almost ready to put out another Sub-Spotters Photogram.

And the Deepsea Challenge website published a few additional expedition notes covering the end of Phase I. That helps round out the third draft of my list, but I still don't get to the official total of 13 actual D-Chall dives unless there were multiple test dives in Jervis Bay.

Date Location Max depth (feet) Notes
      1/26/12 Dock at Garden Island Naval Depot, Sydney Harbor < 5 Checks for buoyancy and water tightness
      1/31/12 Dock at Garden Island Naval Depot, Sydney Harbor < 5 First time JC piloted sub
      2/01/12 Jervis Bay, S of Sydney  Reached ocean    floor Reduced use of heat-emitting equipment, to reduce high temp in pilot sphere
? Jervis Bay, S of Sydney ? One or two additional test dives by JC
      2/21/12 Jacquinot Bay, Papua, New Guinea 0 Sub launched with JC, but aborted after 1 hr.    Stayed on surface
      2/22/12 Jacquinot Bay, PNG 0 Scrubbed due to camera-control problems
      2/23/12 Jacquinot Bay, PNG 3,250 Successful dive, photography, moved horiz at 3 kt, and rendezvous with lander Mike and ROV Quasar operated from above
      2/27/12 Jacquinot Bay, PNG 0 Scrubbed
      2/28/12 Jacquinot Bay, PNG 12,000 Successful rendezvous with landers Mike and Andrew, maneuvered 5 km horiz with guidance from ship
      3/04/12 New Britain Trench 23,818 On way to NB Trench bottom, tried to stop 5 kt descent with large dumps of trim shot, then ascended slowly; then dropped ascent weights
      3/07/12 New Britain Trench 26,791 Successful dive to trench bottom for photography – maneuvered 1.5 km horiz, 300m vert
      3/21/12 Challenger Deep, Vicinity of 11° 22' 59 N, 142° 35' 20" E “Nearly seven miles” “Unpiloted” test dive; pressure “almost 8 tons per square inch”
      3/25/12 Challenger Deep, Vicinity of 11° 22' 59 N, 142° 35' 20" E 35,756 First solo dive to bottom of hadal zone; photography; part of one push-core sample brought up; surfaced at local noon
      4/01/12 West of Ulithi Atoll, in Zowariyau Passage 3,700 RA's first dive; rendez with Mike and ROV Quasar; 25 min descent; 6 hr at bottom; near-vertical scarp; Photography successful
      4/04/12 Ulithi Atoll 800
      4/04/12 Ulithi Atoll 500 JC piloting

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