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Mason Brooks
Mason Brooks

Bathyscaphe [BEST]

A bathyscaphe (/ˈbæθɪˌskeɪf, -ˌskæf/) is a free-diving, self-propelled deep-sea submersible, consisting of a crew cabin similar to a Bathysphere, but suspended below a float rather than from a surface cable, as in the classic Bathysphere design.[1]


Auguste Piccard, inventor of the first bathyscaphe, composed the name bathyscaphe using the Ancient Greek words βαθύς (bathús), meaning "deep", and σκάφος (skáphos), meaning "vessel, ship").

To descend, a bathyscaphe floods air tanks with sea water, but unlike a submarine the water in the flooded tanks cannot be displaced with compressed air to ascend, because the water pressures at the depths for which the craft was designed to operate are too great. For example, the pressure at the bottom of the Challenger Deep is more than seven times that in a standard "H-type" compressed gas cylinder. Instead, ballast in the form of iron shot is released to ascend, the shot being lost to the ocean floor. The iron shot containers are in the form of one or more hoppers which are open at the bottom throughout the dive, the iron shot being held in place by an electromagnet at the neck. This is a fail-safe device as it requires no power to ascend; in fact, in the event of a power failure, shot runs out by gravity and ascent is automatic.

The first bathyscaphe was dubbed FNRS-2, named after the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, and built in Belgium from 1946 to 1948 by Auguste Piccard. (FNRS-1 had been the balloon used for Piccard's ascent into the stratosphere in 1938). Propulsion was provided by battery-driven electric motors.[1] The float held 37,850 litres (8,330 imp gal; 10,000 US gal) of aviation gasoline. There was no access tunnel; the sphere had to be loaded and unloaded while on deck. The first journeys were detailed in the Jacques Cousteau book The Silent World. As described in the book, "the vessel had serenely endured the pressure of the depths, but had been destroyed in a minor squall". FNRS-3 was a new submersible, using the crew sphere from the damaged FNRS-2, and a new larger 75,700 litres (16,700 imp gal; 20,000 US gal) float.

Piccard's second bathyscaphe was actually a third vessel Trieste, which was purchased by the United States Navy from Italy in 1957.[1] It had two water ballast tanks and eleven buoyancy tanks holding 120,000 litres (26,000 imp gal; 32,000 US gal) of gasoline.[2]

A bathyscaphe is a self-propelled vehicle used for deep-sea dives. Bathyscaphes can dive deeper than a person with scuba gear, and even deeper than submarines.Design features reveal that the bathyscaphe was engineered with one goal in mind: to reach the deepest depths of the ocean. In fact, the word "bathyscaphe" takes the first part of its name from the ancient Greek word for "deep": bathys. ("Scaphe" indicates a light, bowl-shaped boat.)The bathyscaphe is made of two main components: a crew cabin and a float. The heavy steel cabin is designed to resist pressure, which increases the deeper you go. The pressure at the bottom of the ocean can be 1,130 kilograms per square centimeter (16,000 pounds per square inch). Thats enough to crush submarines, so the cabins ability to withstand pressure is important for the crew inside!A bathyscaphes float has air tanks and gasoline tanks. These tanks allow the vehicle to propel and maneuver itself, as well as dive and ascend.The vehicles gasoline tanks are lighter than water. This allows the bathyscaphe to float on the oceans surface rather than sink immediately. Gasoline is also incompressible, meaning it does not shrink, or compress, under pressure. This enables the bathyscaphe to maintain equal pressure between its interior and the sea, even at extreme depths where water is highly pressurized. A bathyscaphe relies on its gas tanks to maneuver and perform important navigational functions.The bathyscaphe begins to descend when the floats air tanks are slowly filled with water. The more water in the tanks, the deeper the bathyscaphe can travel. The air tanks are located to the side of the gasoline tanks, which help maintain equal pressure inside and outside the float structure.In order to descend to great depths, a bathyscaphe is also equipped with cone-shaped containers, called hoppers, filled with heavy iron pellets. The pellets are ballast, used to control a ship's weight. The weight of the ballast, reaching up to 16 tons, allows the vehicle to sink. To ascend, the bathyscaphe releases the heavy iron ballast, held in place by magnets. This magnetic system allows the bathyscaphe to ascend even in the event of a power failure.ExplorationThe bathyscaphe can descend farther and faster into the ocean than its predecessor, the bathysphere. The bathyspheres cabin was suspended from a cable and could not move with as much freedom as the self-propelled bathyscaphe. This makes the bathyscaphe an important innovation in oceanic exploration.

Swiss oceanographer Auguste Piccard designed the bathyscaphe. His most successful vehicle, the Trieste, was launched in 1953 and dived to 3,150 meters (10,300 feet).In 1958, the United States Navy purchased the Trieste and designed a new cabin that would enable it to reach the floor of deep ocean trenches. Equipped with this new cabin, the Trieste reached the deepest known point on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, on January 23, 1960. Located 10,916 meters (35,813 feet) below the oceans surface, the Challenger Deep is deeper than the height of Mount Everest!An amazing feat of oceanic navigation, the Trieste expedition remained the only manned dive to reach the Challenger Deep until the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition in March 2012. In that expedition, Canadian inventor and filmmaker James Cameron became the first person to dive solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Cameron and the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team relied on research and challenges presented by the Trieste in developing their sophisticated submersible, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. In particular, they relied on the experience of Don Walsh, an American oceanographer who descended to the Mariana Trench in the Trieste and became an integral part of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE mission.The Trieste is now housed at the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington, D.C., although other nations continue to pursue deep-sea exploration using bathyscaphes.The so-called "Sea Pole" class of bathyscaphe, for instance, was developed in China in the early 2000s. Little is known about this vehicle, except it is constructed of titanium and has a more streamlined, teardrop shape than earlier bathyscaphes.

Up in the Air,Down in the SeaThe Trieste bathyscaphe was considered the underwater equivalent of a hot air balloon. With its small gondola-like cabin attached under a massive float, the Trieste looked the part. In fact, the 12 gas-filled tanks on the Trieste provided as much lift as the hydrogen gas on an airship. These similarities in design were no coincidence. August Piccard, the designer of the Trieste, was a pioneer in high-altitude ballooning as well. His expertise in traveling high up in the air helped him engineer a vehicle that could dive deep under the sea.

After several years of operations in the Mediterranean, the U.S. Navy acquired the vessel in August 1958 and transported the bathyscaphe to San Diego, California, where she was homeported. Beginning in December of 1958, Trieste was fitted with a stronger sphere, fabricated by the Krupp Iron Works of Germany.

After the search mission was complete, Trieste was taken out of service and returned to San Diego. In early 1980, the bathyscaphe was transported to the Washington Navy Yard where the vessel was placed on exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

Jacques Piccard, co-designer of the bathyscaphe, and his assistants make final checks aboard her, prior to Trieste's first deep dive in the Marianas Trench. On 15 November 1959, off Guam, she dove to 18,600 feet, breaking the previous record of 13,000 feet. USS Wandank (ATA-204) is in the distance. Photo was released from publication on 28 November 1959. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command photograph. Catalog#: NH 96802.

Section of a sonar dome from the bow of a Thresher class submarine photographed 24 August 1963 during the second series of dives by the Bathyscaphe Trieste. The bathyscaphe completed 10 dives some 220 miles east of Cape Cod where the nuclear powered submarine Thresher sank 10 April. Official U.S. Navy photograph from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog#: NH 97562.

But the watch this 60th anniversary tribute is based on is the Bathyscaphe, first released sometime in the late 1950s and named for the submersible cabin in which divers could explore parts of the ocean too deep for an exposed diver. The Bathyscaphe was inspired by Jacques Piccard, the Swiss explorer who descended into the Marianas Trench in 1960 in the bathyscaphe Trieste with fellow explorer Don Walsh. Intended for use in a submersible, the Bathyscaphe was made in a smaller size more indicative of the fashion of the time (35-38mm) but was still a robust dive watch. The new Bathyscaphe combines a number of features from these originals with modern dive watch technology to result in a watch that is clearly a tribute without being a simple rerelease.

A bathyscaphe (pronounced BA-thi-skaf; meaning: "deep ship") is a submersible vessel with a spherical room for research and observation. This observation chamber is attached to the bottom of a tank filled with gasoline. Gasoline is more buoyant than water and is highly resistant to compression, which makes it well-suited for the high pressure of deep-sea dives.

Trieste (pronounced TREE-est-a) was the name given to the bathyscaphe that would make history by traveling into the Challenger Deep on January 23, 1960. It was named after the city in which it was built, on the border between Italy and Yugoslavia. The Trieste carried hydronauts Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard approximately 11,000 meters underwater - that is, about 11 kilometers (or 7 miles) into the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. 041b061a72


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