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Alvin, Phone Home

Alvin, Phone Home

November 8, 2018

When the human-occupied submersible Alvin surfaces from a deep-sea mission, specially trained crew members called “swimmers” ride a small boat from the research vessel Atlantis to meet the sub. They take a sound-powered phone and plug it into a jack inside Alvin‘s red-orange sail to talk with the pilot in the sealed personnel sphere below. The swimmer directs the pilot to steer toward the ship for recovery. The swimmer also attaches two safety lines to secure the basket carrying samples in the front of the sub and a yellow parachute-like anchor (atop the sail) to slow the sub as it approaches Atlantis. (Photo by Luis Lamar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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