Academician L.A. Zenkevich
Hundreds of research vessels from different countries are constantly making scientific observations on the vast expanse of the Ocean, and thousands of experts study the Ocean with the a diverse and innovative set of instruments. Radio electronics, cybernetics, automation, telemechanics and optics are embodied in the designs of many of the instruments used in modern science and engineering.
Ocean investigators, armed with excellent engineering tools, have
made many new discoveries in physics, chemistry, biology and geology of
the Ocean, furthering the paths to rational use of its riches.
An active approach to Ocean Science began in middle of our century. It would be simply inconceivable to make the attempt without the use of new and diverse instruments. The creation of these new tools and vehicles has made possible by using the most advanced achievements in modern science.
Ocean research in diverse disciplines is conducted from research vessels and underwater vehicles. Increasingly, value is gained by the use of automatic data collection systems, such as oceanographic buoys and stationary measurement and observation platforms.
Over the last few decades, a significant amount of information about the Ocean has been acquired using aircraft and space vehicles.
Polar ocean research has been and is being conducted from scientific stations erected on the drifting ice pack.
In the “arsenal” of tools for learning about the Ocean, oceanographic research vessels of various sizes and disciplines will continue to be the main research platforms.
The diverse research programmes in physics, chemistry, geology and biology of the Ocean and its resources obtained from these vessels, are supplemented by observations from buoys and fixed platforms, manned submersibles and remote-sensing spacecraft and satellites.
The flow of these continuously-collected data finds its way to central locations where the data are processed, indexed, stored and then used by experts to generate catalogues, databases, etc.
Research of thermal and ice regimes of the Ocean from aircraft
2 Rocket sounding of the atmosphere
3 Orbital (satellite) Ocean research systems
4 Meteorological probes
5 Oceanographic platform
6 Data collection and processing centre
7 Hydrographic vessels
8 Deep-sea drilling vessel.
9 Support vessel for deep-diving submersibles
10 Universal research vessels
11 Oceanographic buoy
12 Deep-water trawl and dredge
13 Underwater habitation module
LABORATORY ARRANGEMENT ON RVs
Crane and winch for manned-submersibles
2. Echo sounding boat
3. Removable laboratory
4. Meteorological laboratory
5. Hydrographic laboratory
6. Chart house
7. Cranes for lowering scientific devices
8. Offset boom with meteorological sensors
9. Wheel house
10. Hydrological laboratory
11. Biological laboratory
12. Geological laboratory
"Academician Mstislav Keldysh"
The ship was built in 1981. Displacement: 6,339 tons, Range: 20,000 miles, Speed: 15.7 knots, Length: 122 m, Beam: 17.8 m, Draught: 5.8 m, Crew: 65, Scientific staff: 65. The vessel contains 25 separate laboratories.
This research vessel was built in 1975. Displacement: 1,677 tons, Speed: 13.5 knots, Length: 68.8m, Beam: 12.4 m, Draught: 4.2 m, Crew: 32, Scientific staff: 28, working in 11 laboratories.
The French research vessel "Jean Charcot" was built in 1965 for geophysical, geological and biological research programmes. The vessel is capable of supporting submersible vehicles weighing up to 12 tons. Displacement: 2,200 tons, Length: 74.5m, Beam: 14.1m, Draught: 5.0m, Speed: 15 knots, Range: 10,000 miles, Crew: 34, Scientific personnel: 29, 8 laboratories.
Between 1986 and 1988, the USSR State Committee on Hydrometeorology funded the construction of six ships of the "Vadim Popov" class. Displacement: 929 tons, Range: 5,500 miles, Length 49.9 m, Beam: 10 m, Draught: 3.6 m, Crew and scientific staff: 35, 5 laboratories.
The modern RV is equipped with precision navigational instruments that communicate with satellites and computers.
RVs are sometimes dedicated to one type of ocean science, i.e., physical oceanography, geology-geophysics, hydrography, etc., and are thus-equipped with specific types of scientific instruments. Some sub-fields of the various disciplines are hydrology, marine chemistry, marine geophysics, geology of the Ocean, hydroacoustics, hydrography, meteorology and marine biology. Also included in the science fleet are vessels involved in space research.
The most large fleets of RVs belong to the Russia
and the USA. Vessels displacing 2,000-4,000 tons are the most common type
"Cosmonaut Yuriy Gagarin"
Also in the scientific fleet are vessels for telemetry of space vehicles. Apart from the primary purpose of controlling space flight vehicles, these vessels collect meteorological information.
The largest RV in the world, "Cosmonaut Yuriy Gagarin," was built in 1971. Displacement: 45,000 tons, Length: 135 m, Beam: 31 m, Speed: 17 knots. There are 86 laboratories aboard.
Hydrographic vessels of this type were built between 1970 and 1977. Displacement 9,100 tons, Length: 147 m, Beam: 18.6 m, Draught: 6.3 m, Speed 20 knots, Range: 23.000 miles. There are 20 laboratories aboard.
The research-catamaran "Geolog Primor'ya" was built in 1984. Displacement: 791 tons, Length: 35.1 m, Beam: 18.2 m, Draught 3.3 m, Speed: 9 knots, Range: 1,320 miles, Crew and scientists: 35.
The multi-purpose Ocean research vessel "Meteor" was built in Germany in 1986. Displacement: 4,000 tons, Length: 97.5 m, Draught: 5.3m, Speed: 15 knots, Range: 10,000 miles, Crew: 33, Scientists: 29. Laboratory space covers 240 m2.
The most cost-effective way to collect data over a considerable length of time in any type of weather is by deploying a broad network of oceanographic buoys.
Depending on the type of research, oceanographic buoys are divided into two types: anchored and free-drifting. Anchored buoys either float on the sea surface (surface buoy, autonomous weather station buoy), or at specific depths (submerged buoy).
In the past few decades, autonomous station buoys have come into wide use. When the international program, POLYMODE, was instituted in 1977-1978, Soviet oceanographers launched 19 of these station buoys.
Drifting buoys are used for tracking surface currents. Usually, a whole series of buoys drifts freely on the Ocean surface, and their drift is tracked by artificial, Earth-orbiting satellites. From the results of these experiments, it is possible to construct a picture of currents in the research area. The massive use of drifting buoys was instituted under the international program, PIGAP.
A third, independent group of buoys-manned and unmanned technical buoys-also exists. Examples of these types of buoys are: BORNA-1 (France), FLIP and SPAR (USA), and others.
A project is being formed that will use an integrated global system of oceanic stations (IGSOS). It is intended for collecting a broad spectrum of data relating to the state of the World Ocean.
In recent years, Russia, USA, France and Italy have constructed facilities to collect, process and store data measured by free-drifting and anchored buoys.
A radical change in drifting-buoy technology and use occurred with the appearance of oceanographic telemetry systems using artificial satellites. These satellites are able to determine the geographic positions of objects at any point of the World Ocean.
While awaiting an upload of data to a telemetry satellite, data are stored aboard the buoys on various media storage devices.
Basic types of oceanographic buoys
2. Submerged buoy
3. Autonomous buoy station
4. Drifting buoy
5. Inhabited buoy-laboratory
Underwater sail of the drifting buoy MGI-9301
for studying subsurface currents
Single-application drifting buoy MGI-9302
Installation of station buoy on the Ocean
Equipment on a large oceanographic buoy
The vessel "Kaimalino"
was constructed as a fixed platform for oceanographic research and diving activities
When a satellite passes over a coastal reception site, the information collected at sea is transmitted to a computer centre, where the geographic positions of the buoys are determined. After processing, the information is sent to the owners of the buoys. In our country, research-buoys have been used during an experiment, using a communication “KOSPAS” satellite to upload and transfer data.
Drifting buoy MGI-9301 is intended for the measurement of subsurface currents and has equipment and communications instrumentation, which is connected by a cable to an underwater “sail”. The sail, kept at a depth of 50-100 m, catches a subsurface current, and this tows the buoy. By observing the course of the buoy, the characteristics of currents at the depth of the sail are determined.
Another drifting buoy, MGI-9302, carries single-application instruments. It stays submerged most of the year, surfacing only twice to transmit the data it collects. This instrumented buoy maps the currents and temperature in the surface layer of the water and also the air temperature near the sea surface, thereby giving a picture of a near-surface slice of the atmosphere.
The questions answered with the help of drifting buoys communicating with satellites, is not limited to studies of currents and temperature, for they are also able to measure wind speed and direction at and near the sea surface, atmospheric pressure and many other hydrographic characteristics of the sea.
Fixed and moving instruments for oceanographic research are also used for learning about small-scale processes of the Ocean, and for long-duration, continuous natural and meteorological research at significant distances from shore. Their design is similar to oil drilling platforms and are built on piles at depths up to 70 m, or float, anchored in up to several hundred meters of water. Laboratories and living spaces aboard these platforms provide working and living spaces for scientists. The platforms are equipped with winches and cranes on the deck, which also serves as a helicopter landing site.
Observations in ice-covered and polar waters are often carried out by automatic drifting meteorological stations which regularly transmit weather information by radio to shore sites.
Manned laboratory-buoy “Borna-1” (France)
The buoy-laboratory of the Oceanographic Institute in Monaco is a vertically-buoyant steel pipe, 65 m long and 2 m in diameter. Laboratories and a lift are located in the pipe, which is situated in 49 m of water. On the surface portion, there are living accommodations, a complex of scientific equipment and a power station. Six people can work in the laboratory.
To conduct broader Ocean research, the Scripps
Institute of Oceanography (USA) constructed an overturning vessel/laboratory
- "FLIP" (Floating Laboratory Instrument Platform).
To transfer it to the site of oceanographic studies, it is towed in a horizontal
position, and then the forward buoyancy tanks are flooded, “flipping” it
into a vertical position.
The overall length of “FLIP” is 107 m, with a displacement of 600 tons. In her surface section, there is a cabin for four scientists and a laboratory. Through two internal water-proof pipes, 3.75 m in diameter, investigators descend to a depth of 45-meter depth to make their observations.
"FLIP" - Floating Laboratory Instrument Platform
2 Manned, orbiting space station
3 Airplane - flying laboratory
4 Coastal receiving and transmitting station
5 Air survey of ice, storms and Ocean water temperatures
6 Depth measurements of shallow waters using lasers
7 Defining Ocean temperature changes
8 Detection of frontal zones
9 Detection of eddies
10 Search and evaluation of biological resources
11 Evaluation of the thermal condition of waters
12 Coastal zone research
13 Ocean pollution research
14 Oceanographic buoys and research vessels, transmitting information on the state of deep waters of the Ocean
The instruments placed aboard aircraft and spacecraft are called remote sensing instruments and make up two classes: active and passive.
The passive class includes television receivers and radiometers. Using them, it is possible to measure the sea-surface temperature, its colour and various parameters of effects on biological and plankton development.
The active class of instruments includes radar and lasers. They transmit directional radio signals and, upon receiving reflections from the Ocean surface, can determine wind speed, surface currents and wave heights. These instruments use broadband radio waves and frequencies to collect the data.
From space, we can determine waters where increased biological productivity occurs, carry out large-scale observations of Ocean contamination, e.g., oil slicks, study the sea floor relief in shallow regions and it is also possible to observe the effects of internal waves on the sea surface. Spacecraft-derived data can also be used to search for regions in which to work and to select the best routes for vessels working or navigating in ice. Diverse Ocean data are transmitted from data processing centres to customers via radio and telemetry channels.
Extensive experiments for Ocean study were conducted
on Soviet satellites of the series "Kosmos", "Meteor" and "Priroda," on
manned spacecraft "Soyuz" and, "Soyuz-T, " and from the orbital space stations,
"Salyut" and "Mir." Other observations continue to be made from the American
satellites "Nimbus," "Tiros" and "Seasat", the orbital station "Skylab,"
the “Space-Shuttle” program and the French observational satellite, “SPOT.”
Further work has been done under the joint French-American program "TOPEX-Poseidon".
These observations were supplemented by Ocean research from low-flying
fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and also from high-altitude planes
with laboratories. Visual observations of the Ocean surface from space
also produce important information. Astronauts mapped strong eddies, large
schools of fish, groups of ocean mammals and observed the surface expression
of underwater volcanic eruptions.
Descent of a water-bottle rosette sampler.
The water bottle rosette sampler is used for measurement of temperature and electrical conductivity of marine water in an automatic mode. The sampling of the water at depths determined by operator is conducted with 18 water bottles, each with a volume of 1 litre.
Instrument used to obtain a continuous record
of sea-surface temperatures.
Launch of a meteorological rocket
RESEARCH VESSEL EQUIPMENT. DEVICES FOR OCEANOGRAPHIC STUDIES
2. Seismic zond and magnetometer
3. Temperature zond
4. Biologic water sampler
1. Towing photo camera
Current meter BPV-2
Temperature sounding device.
Autonomous turbulence meter GAT-3
The instruments of a modern Scientific Research Vessel (SRV) include a large number of devices and vehicles created specifically for Ocean research.
Over the last few decades, the role of automated instruments has grown rapidly. Instead of conventional reversing thermometers and water bottles, new devices, such as CTD probes, which simultaneously measure Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (where conductivity is used to determine salinity) have been introduced. These data are transmitted for processing.
Gas-analysis probes, intended to measure the concentration of dissolved cases in the water column have also been developed.
Apart from probes used on vessels, there are torpedo-like devices with programmed controls. These are free-falling probes which, upon reaching the bottom or a specific depth, release their ballast, rise to the surface and send the collected data to a processing centre by a radio transmitter. Some types of probes are dropped from helicopters and airplanes.
Current measurements are now made by electromagnetic and acoustic devices.
In addition to conventional instrumentation, modern research vessels are equipped with meteorological observation devices, temperature sensors, current accelerometers, echo sounders, hydrolocators and so on. They use towed magnetometers, heat-flow (geothermal) probes, radioactivity sensors, wave meters, underwater television cameras and even carry submersible vehicles. Thus, the modern research vessel represents a state-of-the-art floating research institute, on which usually there may be several laboratories. Processing of the diverse data collected by numerous devices is conducted in these laboratories.
The “rosette” sampling device is set
on board a scientific research vessel as she travels along her course.
By lowering the device into the water, an acoustic communication channel
transmits information on water temperature, conductivity and pressure,
and water samples are returned to the surface. Hereafter, this type of
probe will be used in a broad application of oceanographic investigations.
Preparing to lower a towed temperature / salinity
Aboard Research vessel "Akademik Kurchatov"
The M-6000 water sampler is intended
for sampling marine water with water bottles at depths from 0 down to 6,000
m. The device records a continuous profile of temperature, electric conductivity
(salinity) and water pressure (depth).
Current meter work
Wet-laboratory on a research vessel
In the last several years the successes of instrument design and manufacturing have allowed us to create and introduce a number of new devices for Ocean chemistry research. Without using a significant amount of time and materials, they allow us to use a small volume from selected water samples to determine the contents of the dissolved gases, salts, biogenetic substances and trace-elements while working aboard research vessels.
In order to obtain fuller information about the distribution of Oceanic chemical parameters in layers of water, special Ocean chemistry probes with on-board sensors and recording instruments aboard the ships have been developed. Now, for continuous measurement and recording of the contents of dissolved oxygen, electrical conductivity and water temperature, sampling probes such as "Rosette" in USA and "Ocean" and "Tsikada" in Russia are widely used.
Ocean chemistry laboratories on large research vessels
use spectrometers various designs to determine dissolved mineral and organic
Research on samples aboard an RV
For the collection of biological organisms living in dense waters and at the bottom of the Ocean, nets and trawl devices are used. Plankton collection is conducted by towing special cone-shaped nets with various mesh sizes. Bacteria living in the Ocean waters are collected with water bottles of different volumes and designs. Collecting samples of bottom-dwelling organisms is conducted by drags and bottom-grabs. However, these biological collecting tools do not give full information about the environment of the living organisms. Therefore, in the last few decades, the practice of biological research of the Ocean has developed physical methods to determine a number of species of plankton. In one method, a laser is used, where the beam scans large layers of Ocean waters and gives quantitative information about the plankton population. Another method allows for the measurement of the intensity of bioluminescence of some planktonic organisms to determine their populations. These methods allow us to study the distribution of plankton in an area of the sea.
Considerably greater information about the flora and fauna of the Ocean has become possible by using manned submersibles. The observers aboard these vehicles are able to collect interesting species by using special manipulators and traps. Still photographs and motion pictures of these organisms are made at the same time.
A wide range of experiments concerning biological research in the Ocean has come into present practice. These experiments allow us to determine the spatial distribution of types and also their movements in ocean layers and on the sea floor.
Deep-water trawl for collecting benthic organisms
Trawl collecting benthic organisms living on
the sea floor
Deep-water photography installation
Water bottle for collecting micro-organisms
Modern marine geology includes many disciplines, using instruments which are designed to meet the needs of the specific studies.
Echo sounders are the main instruments for the study of bottom relief (bathymetry) and to construct nautical charts. From the 1920s on, a large number of electronic echo sounding designs with various accuracies have been developed. The creation of narrow-beam echo sounders have considerably increased the accuracy of the instruments. In the last three decades, the use of multibeam echo sounders has allowed us to survey the bottom relief with swaths covering large areas and the results can be favourably compared to aerial photographs.
Multibeam echo sounder
With the help of this instrument, it is possible to make a widely-spaced survey of the bottom relief along the track of a research ship.
The main part of an echo sounder is the transducer, which emits narrow, 5°-wide signals directed perpendicularly across the track of a vessel. The set of beams measures across the track and allows us to conduct a survey across a wide band of the sea floor, up to twice the depth of the water from the surface. The swath width is determined by using mathematical models, and the when the information is received on the vessel, it is processed in high-powered computers and plotted onto plotting sheets.
Side-scanning acoustic sounders in a tow fish
An RV tows an acoustic transducer. The reflections from sea floor relief or submerged objects allow us to receive a three-dimensional picture of the bottom. The reflections from signals, gradually transmitted by the towed device register as swath-bands across the direction of the vessel. The cross-beams can measure a swath of up to 20 km, that is, 10 km from each side of the tow-fish.
Work with a geological coring device (gcd)
1. Descent of gcd 2. Gcd at the bottom 3. Coring 4. Lifting of gcd
This device collects a sample of bottom sediments about 0.15 m in area. The sample weighs about 30kg. The time of submergence and return to the surface is about 1.5 m/second.
It is very important for the Marine Geologist to collect samples of the sediments on the sea floor and up to 20 or more meters into the sea floor. Known as sediment cores, these are collected with several types of coring devices, such as the piston corer, gravity corer, vibrating corer and automatic, pop-up corer.
Manned submersibles have opened a new door for Marine Geologists,
providing new perspectives for research. One main advantage of the manned
submersible is the capability of being permitted to directly observe the
sea floor in real time. One of the first major applications of the
use of manned submersibles for Marine Geology occurred during the FAMOUS
(French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study) project in an area of the Atlantic
Ocean south of the Azores islands. The results of this project demonstrated
that is possible to collect samples from the sea floor using drills and
mechanical arms, and also to directly observe their characteristics in
place, such as recent lava flows. Manned submersibles are equipped with
still-frame and motion - picture camera, as well as underwater television
systems and video recorders.
Geophysical methods are widely used to investigate the geological structure of the sea floor below the sea bed, and are applied to locating mineral resources. The are used to study the physics inside the sea floor. Parameters studied include geomagnetics, gravity, heat-flow and seismicity, and anomalies associated with them. Complex instruments have been created to make these measurements.
The study of the magnetic field of the Ocean bottom is conducted by magnetometers of various designs. The Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences created the proton-precession magnetometer to take measurements of the magnetic field of the Earth below the sea floor. Magnetic surveys are also conducted using quantum magnetometers and gradiometers. A gravimetric survey is used to search for oil and gas layers in the layers of the Ocean bottom, by locating tectonic variations. Gravimeters have been developed for these purposes.
The study of natural and artificially - induced electrical fields in the Ocean required development of new techniques and instruments.
Measuring heat flow from deep inside the Earth is conducted by a multichannel geothermal system: MTG-1M.
To locate the epicentres of underwater earthquakes, learning about the internal structure of the Earth is carried out by direct observations. In Russia and abroad, these observations are implemented with the help of ocean-bottom seismographs (OBS). The Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences developed the ocean-bottom seismic station MADS-6 for this purpose.
Various kinds of seismic investigations, that is, continuous seismic profiling measurements, locating common depth points and deep seismic-refraction measurements, are methods applied the to gaining knowledge of the depth structure of Ocean floor.
The basic methods for research are seismic reflection / refraction studies, where seismic waves are artificially produced by explosions in deep water and also on the sea floor. Special recording and monitoring instruments are placed aboard a vessel or on the sea floor and these fix the time of receipt of reflected or refracted waves. A computer determines travel-time of the longitudinal waves. Repetition of such explosions through certain slices of time gives an in-depth profile of the structure sea floor and the Earth’s crust along the entire track of a vessel.
Pneumatic power sources (air-guns) are another way to conduct seismic investigation of the Ocean and with these, the reflected information is received on a buoyant towed - hydrophone array, and/or recording seismic stations. The methods for seismic research in the Ocean are constantly being improved.
As a result of the refinement of these instruments, geophysical processing centres aboard research ships ensure simultaneous measurements of the various parameters of geophysics along a single track. For geological / geophysical prospecting activities in the Ocean, Russia has developed and widely uses a nautical geophysical system called, "Mars."
Radio - hydroacoustic buoy
2. Receiver of reflected waves
3. Pneumatic wave transducer
Marine multi-channel geothermal complex MTG-1M
Lowering a thermistor chain with 6 measuring channels to the sea floor from aboard a research vessel to measure the geothermal gradient (heat-flow) in bottom sediments. Measurements are taken with regard to the temperature of the near-bottom layer of water and heat conductivity of the Ocean floor.
The scheme of activity of station MADS-6
1. Research scientific vessel
Studying the structure of the Ocean floor by deep-sea drilling is the farthest-reaching programme from the standpoint of scientific and technical progress in modern Marine Geology.
From 1957 to 1965 deep-sear drilling was experimental, and carried out by drilling vessels "CASS-1," "CASS-2" and "Caldrill-1" on the continental shelf of the USA (California) and Mexico to depths of 1,000 - 3,600 m with a sediment depth penetration of up to 320 m.
In 1968, research began from the specially built vessel, "Glomar Challenger,” an 11,000-ton drill ship. A drilling tower and derrick of over 40 meters in height was installed aboard the ship. More than 10 km of drill pipe were carried aboard the vessel. Fixing the vessel over a borehole was implemented by a dynamic positioning system controlled by a computer. The vessel was able to drill to over 7,600 meters into the sea floor. At the time of retirement, she had drilled 575 holes deeper than 1,000 m, and 600 reached basement rock. The deep-sea drilling was done on pre-determined sites, at each of which, from 5 to 15 drillings were accomplished. From 1970-on, some drill sites were re-occupied and boreholes re-entered to drill to greater depths. Scientists from many countries, including the USSR, participated in the first phase of deep-sea drilling aboard “Glomar Challenger.”
For some tasks, however, the capabilities of “Glomar Challenger” were limited. Therefore, in 1982, she was retired and replaced with a new, giant drill ship, “JOIDES Resolution.” The new ship is 143 m long and has well-appointed laboratories covering an area of 1,115 m2 The laboratories are used for initial examination of newly-cored sea floor. The vessel is also equipped also with a system for re-entering a borehole / drill-pipe section . Up to 50 experts - geologists from all sub-disciplines - participate on each cruise leg. The cruises are under the direction of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and have an internationally diverse makeup, with scientists from USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan and Russia participating in both the science and in publication of the data.
Between 1985 and 1992, 77,500 m of cores from 683 drill holes at 279 locations have been drilled in almost all regions of the World Ocean. Core sections are stored at 3 of the largest Ocean research institutions in the USA. Altogether, scientists from 38 countries have participated in working on the detailed information obtained from these cores. The study of the core materials has allowed the science community to establish new positions in the approach to the study of Earth history during the Ice Age (Pleistocene epoch), the evolution of continental drift and tectonic processes and the formation of the oceanic crust.
Deep Sea Drilling Programme (DSDP / ODP)
1-Tracks of the drill ship "Glomar Challenger"
2-Deep sea drilling sites
Drill ship "Glomar Challenger"
devices for re-entering a drill-pipe section into a bore hole
3.drill-pipe in a bore hole
Basic tools for underwater research
1-Undrwater TV camera
The rigid diving pressure-suit permits the diver to be lowered to great depths, but remaining at ambient surface pressure. These “JIM” suits give the diver the capacity to move around on the bottom freely to conduct research and tests.
In modern diving facilities, divers enter a hyperbaric (pressure) chamber aboard a ship. Divers pass from this chamber into a diving bell and are then submerged.
On the new research vessel "Vityaz,'" a diving complex with a diving bell capable of descending to 250 - 350 m is used.
Manned submersibles allow investigators to work in conditions of normal atmospheric pressure. The first manned submersibles were intended only for visual observations. beginning in 1950, they began to be equipped with manipulators (to collect geological and biological samples), photographic and TV systems and measuring devices and sensors.
Manned-submersible, "Alvin" (USA)
Long-range underwater investigation vehicle,
Using this system, the ocean-liner, "Titanic,” sunk in 1912," was inspected in 1985..
Underwater “habitats” constructed and used by scientists of various countries around the World. In 1960, the first underwater laboratory, “Icthyandr” was built and tested at a depth of 15 m in the Black Sea by the USSR. In the underwater laboratories, "Sadko" and "Chernomor,” constructed by the Institute of Oceanology, of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, research was conducted in depths of 30 meters.
Remotely-Operated (unmanned) Vehicles (ROVs) make up a separate group of research tools for Ocean research. Existing and planned ROVs differ in depth capability. Shallow-depth vehicles are capable of up to 600 m depths, middle-depth vehicles are capable of depths up to 2,000 m, and for deep depths over 2,000 meters, a third design is used.
ROVs are equipped with passive, active and autonomous controls, by which the research is carried out by onboard systems. Most of these are used at great depths. Three types of controls are used for ROVs: tethered, long-distance acoustically-controlled and robotic. In the last few years, a combination underwater vehicle was created, in which the best parts of all of these systems are incorporated.
Robots were created to accomplish complex underwater technical activities
over the last 70 years. They are pre-programmed and can conduct examinations
and video recording of sunken vessels or submerged engineering sites such
as oil production well-heads. In the USA, underwater robots such as "Sea
Drone", "CURV" and "Penguin" are in use, and in Russia, the underwater
robotic vehicle "Skate" is in use.
Instrumentation on the manned submersible "Pisces"
4. Air supply
5. Ballast tank
6. Radio station
10. Instrument panel
11. Sonar device / transponder
12. Cleaning the air
15. Electric batteries
16. Cockpit (pressure vessel)
17. Engine compartment
Manned submersible "Pisces"
The ROV "Manta-1.5"
Intended for complex geological, biological, hydrochemical and geophysical research, it is equipped with a television system, photographic package and a manipulator arm for collecting sea floor geological samples and bottom flora and fauna.
Unmanned, autonomous, acoustically-controlled underwater vehicle "Epolar" (France) with submersion capability of 6,000 m.
Descent of the manned submersible "Sever-2"
It Is used for fisheries, oceanographic and geological research at depths of up to 2,000 m.
Deep-water manned submersible "Mir-1".
Manned submersibles equipped with modern instrumentation are the perfect tools for underwater research, capable of researches for opening opportunities for undersea technical work. Manned submersibles are reaching technical perfection, advancing from the first bulky designs to modern, small-sized, manoeuvrable vehicles, capable of being launched from research vessels.
The first manned submersibles are usually considered to be the bathyspheres and bathyscaphs. In 1934, American researchers Bib and Barton reached the depth of 1,000 m, aboard a bathysphere thereby beginning the mastering of Man over great depths. The Swiss scientist, A. Piccard, designed the bathyscaph in 1953-1954, and in 1960, dived to the bottom of the greatest depth of the World Ocean—the Marianas Trench.
Atlant - 2
With the help of bathyscaphs "Archimede" and "Trieste II many deep-water trenches have been inspected.
In 1959, Jacques Yves Cousteau tested the self-propelled diving saucer, “Denise,” with a depth capability of about 420 m. At about the same time, the hydrostatic vehicle, “Sever-I, and the submarine, “Severyanka,” were used for Ocean research in the USSR.
In July - August, 1969 Jacques Piccard and 5 investigators travelled underwater for several days in the Gulf Stream, at depths of about 400 m on the American mesoscaph "Ben Franklin," which specially was built for this research.
Many discoveries were made by French manned submersibles, "Cyana,"
in 1971 (maximum depth: 3,000 m), "M-97" in 1984 and "Nautile" in 1985
(maximum depth: 6,000 m), American manned submersibles "Alvin" (maximum
depth after refitting in 1988: 6,000 m, and “Sea Cliff, ” built in 1984
(maximum depth: 6,000 m).
After 1975, the deep-diving manned submersibles "Pisces-VII", "Pisces-XI" and "Argus" conducted research for the Institute of Oceanology of RAS.
Construction of the manned submersibles "Mir-1" and "Mir-2" with a maximum depth rating of 6,000 m at the end of 1987 was a significant event in domestic oceanological engineering. The investigators using them have many diverse measuring tools and instruments, and photo and video recording devices. The advantages of the "Mir" submersibles is that they have practically unlimited capability of manoeuvring on up and down. They are also equipped with a whole complex of oceanologic measuring devices.
Modern manned submersibles used for the most diverse reasons: physical oceanography, biological oceanography, marine archaeological and geological research, searching for sunken ships and aircraft and for servicing the underwater parts of installations associated with the marine petroleum industry.
As creation of new undersea vehicles continues, more modern materials are used and the search for better power sources and technology goes forward as well. These items are expected to increase the range, speed and autonomy of manned submersibles. The instrumentation aboard manned submersibles is also constantly being improved.
At the beginning of 1990s, Japan constructed the new manned submersible,
"Shinkai-6,500", and in France, the manned submersible, "Nautile," was
built. Research conducted with the use of these vehicles has provided new
and important information on tectonic history and fabric of the Pacific
Ocean sea floor.