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Phil Forte tests oxygen tanks in new Alvin

Breathing Easy

WHOI engineer Phil Forte tests the valves and regulators on oxygen bottles in the personnel sphere of the newly-rebuilt Alvin submarine. During a normal nine-hour dive, the three people inside the sphere use about two cylinders of oxygen. The rest of the bottles provide reserve oxygen, in case rough weather or other problems prevent Alvin from returning to the surface on schedule. Forte oversaw the assembly and testing of the sub’s life support system, which is little changed from that in the old Alvin. “It’s simple, it’s reliable, and we know it works,” he said. Alvin recently passed its verification dives and has returned to service. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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