Submarines: July 6, 2003


The Kaiko, the deepest diving (36,008 feet in 1995) robotic submarine in the world was lost in May while operating off Japan. The deepest dive by a manned submersible was in 1960, when the U.S. Navys Trieste 1 went down to 35,810 feet in 1960. The Trieste 1 has since been retired. But navies still rely on privately owned deep diving submersibles for military missions. If a sub or ship goes down in deep water, a deep diving submersible is hired to go down to look for clues as to why the mishap occurred. The ten foot long Keiko cost $15 million and has two robotic arms and four TV cameras. It was used recently to locate a Japanese rockets the fell into the sea, so the wreckage could be recovered. While the most capable submersible, the Japanese owned Kaiko is not the only one in service. The Japanese have another, the manned Shinkai 6500, which can carry three researchers to a depth of 22,000 feet; France's similar Nautile, which and can dive to about 20,000 feet; and Russia's unmanned MIR vehicles, also capable of reaching 20,000 feet.


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