The new personnel sphere for the re-designed submersible Alvin enters a pressure test chamber at a Northrop-Grumman facility in Annapolis, Md. The sphere began four days of simulated test dives on June 18 to satisfy requirements by the American Bureau of Shipping and the U.S. Navy. In early July, it will arrive at WHOI and work will begin on reassembling the submersible, which was completely disassembled in early 2011 so that critical components could be upgraded and improved. In addition to a larger, stronger titanium sphere, it has two more forward viewports than previous spheres that will greatly improve scientists' view of the deep, a new command and control system, and new lighting and imaging systems.
(Photo by Kurt Uetz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)