Introduction[edit | edit source]
Two of the world’s most advanced deep submersibles, the twin Mir's are owned and operated by the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. Able to dive to up to 6,000 meters (19,680 feet), they have access to up to 98% of the ocean floor. Led by Chief Pilot Dr Anatoly Sagalevitch, the accomplished Mir team have conducted diving operations throughout the world, in equatorial to polar seas. As exploration, science and filmmaking vehicles, the Mirs are superbly matched to the logistical demands placed upon them. They have proven themselves time and time again in procession of hostile undersea environments – from erupting volcanoes to under-ice operations at the North Pole. The Mirs’ large capacity batteries and power usage regime makes dive times of up to 18 hours achievable.
The Mir’s personnel cabin is a sphere constructed of thick nickel steel. It is designed to withstand the water pressures found at ocean depths and accommodates one pilot and two additional occupants. The Mir’s viewports are relatively large for an extreme-depth submersible and a very powerful and versatile lighting system can be optimised for science, exploration and filming tasks.
Paired manipulator arms and a suite of sensors and samplers provide excellent ‘hands-on’ potential for technical deepwater operations. When diving together the Mirs have unparalleled filmmaking advantages – one submersible is used as a camera platform while the other functions as a mobile lighting rig.
To date, more than fifty worldwide expeditions have been conducted with the Mir submersibles, including explorations of many complex targets, such as hydrothermal vents and shipwrecks.
How they work[edit | edit source]
The twin Mir and Deep Rover submersibles are designed to safely conduct exploration and science in an extreme environment. They are small, untethered vehicles that can take two or three occupants, including a professional pilot, into the deep sea.
Deep submersibles are launched/retrieved from a mother ship, typically a large ocean-class research ship. After a pre-dive briefing, the pilot and observers enter the spherical personnel cabin. The submersible is then gently lowered into the sea and towed a short distance from the mother ship before beginning its descent. Inside the submersible, each occupant sits or lies on a comfortable padded seat, placed for easy viewing.
During the dive the pressure inside the cabin remains at a constant one atmosphere, so no decompression is required. The submersibles large batteries provide electrical power to run the propulsion, life support, lighting and control systems. During operation the subs are quiet and perceptible motion is restricted to the short time spent at the surface. Overall the experience is a relaxed, tranquil one, enabling deep divers to focus on the world outside, take photos/video, and converse.
Deep Ocean Diving[edit | edit source]
Deep Ocean Expeditions owns and operates two Deep Rover submersibles – DR1 and DR2, aboard their dedicated 183-ft mother ship, MV Alucia.
Each Deep Rover is capable of taking two occupants to a depth of 1,000 meters (3,200 ft) in comfort and safety. Many of the ocean's most remarkable features lie within this depth range, including the sunlit zone, twilight zone and the upper portion of the dark zone.
The view from the Deep Rover's acrylic sphere is unparalleled, with a 320° field of view. To dive in one of these vehicles is a magical experience that has been compared to occupying a giant bubble. A finely tuned system of ballast control and thrusters provides the submersible with exquisite manoeuvrability at any depth.
A powerful lighting system and high-definition television cameras mounted on pan-and-tilts provide for both scientific data collection and professional quality filmmaking. A pair of mechanical arms enables each Deep Rover to collect samples and deploy instruments and specialized biological and geological sampling tools on the seafloor and above it.
Like the Mirs, the Deep Rovers typically dive as a pair, providing an addition dimension of safety and adding enhanced viewing opportunities during dives. These futuristic submersibles can be seen in action in the James Cameron film ‘Aliens of the Deep’.
The Dual Deep Worker is a sleek two-person submarine capable of diving to 2,000ft / 600m. Built by Canadian company Nuytco Research, its novel twin-pod design aids manoeuvrability and provides excellent visibility for both the pilot and passenger.
Built with safety in mind, this submersible can dive beyond the 'twilight zone' of the ocean, but is equally well suited to exploring tropical reefs or sunken wrecks in shallower waters.
In conjunction with the Deep Rovers, the Dual Deep Worker adds flexibility to science and filmmaking operations, serving either as an additional lighting platform or even on occasions as the onscreen 'star'.
Able to be custom fitted with sophisticated biological sample collection equipment on a dive-by-dive basis, the Dual Deep Worker adds significantly to the already-impressive capabilities of the Deep Rovers and their mother ship MV Alucia. Our DDW can also be shipped anywhere in the world and deployed from vessels of opportunity at short notice.
Support Ships[edit | edit source]
Over the years, DOE has worked with a variety of submersible support ships and expedition vessels.
The twin Mirs have most frequently been deployed from their mother ship, RV Akademik Keldysh, owned and operated by the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology.
The Deep Rovers and the Dual Deep Worker are currently integrated with MV Alucia, a newly rebuilt expedition ship owned by Deep Ocean Expeditions.