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Alvin sample basket

In the Basket

To many scientists, one of the most important features on the submersible Alvin is the sub's sample basket, the stage on the front of the sub that holds instruments being carried to the seafloor and precious samples of sediment, water, hydrothermal fluids, and organisms back to the surface. During a recent overhaul of Alvin, the sample basket was upgraded to hold 400 pounds—up from its previous limit of 200 pounds. The sub recently received certification from the U.S. Navy to begin diving and will return to service this spring after a series of dives to test its scientific systems in March. (Photo by Rod Catanach, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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