Trieste bathyscaphe, 1960

Trieste bathyscaphe, 1960

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Caption: Trieste bathyscaphe. Jacques Piccard and Ernest Virgil loading iron shot ballast during preparations of the US Navy Trieste bathyscaphe in the Pacific Ocean before its record dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. A bathyscaphe is a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible that uses a pressurise cabin suspended below a float. The Trieste was designed by the Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard and launched in 1953. It was used to descend to the deepest known part of the Earth's oceans; a point known as Challenger Deep in The Marianas Trench, with Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard on board. The record depth is around 10,900 metres below sea level and was reached on 23rd January 1960. The Trieste measured around 18 metres long and consisted of a spherical pressure capsule designed to carry a crew of two below large float chambers. It was retired in 1964, though its original pressure sphere was reused in its successor, the Trieste II. The original Trieste was placed on exhibit in the US Navy Museum in 1980. Photographed on 23rd January 1960.

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