Dutchman builds First navigable submarine
Between 1620 and 1624, Dutchman Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel was the designer and builder of the first-ever navigable submarine, while working for the English Royal Navy. His final (third) model had six oars and could carry 16 passengers. The submarine could submerge for three hours and travel about 6 NM, cruising at a depth of 5 meters. Oxygen was generated by heating saltpetre in a metal pan.
Deep sea lifeforms discovered
Sir John Ross, a British researcher, was the first to demonstrate that the deep sea was inhabited by lifeforms. In 1818 while carrying out sounding surveys, he pulled up a relative of the starfish, and found evidence of other deep-sea animals living at a depth almost 1,600 meters.
New world record for deepest dive
Naturalist William Beebe and engineer Otis Barton set the record for the deepest dives ever performed by a human, to a depth of 923 meters in 1934. The record was later to be broken by Otis on his own. They used the Bathysphere – a unique, spherical, deep-sea “submersible”. This steel sphere with a window of fused quartz – the strongest transparent material available back then – was lowered into the sea by a cable. While this submersible was incapable of moving under its own power, it possessed the basic fundamentals of systems that are still apparent in today’s submarines. The Bathysphere was used to study deep sea marine life in its natural habitat.
New depth record: 10,900 meters
In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh established a depth record in the bathyscaphe Trieste, a submarine designed by Jacques and his father. The bathyscaphe reached the deepest known point on the earth’s surface, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench (around 10,900 meters), and resisted pressure equivalent to 1,000 times atmospheric pressure. They observed fish and proved that the existence of life at the deepest part of the ocean was viable.
Jules Verne wrote a gripping tale that inspired many undersea enthusiasts – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The story tells of a fictional submarine named the Nautilus captained by Nemo. The submarine was named after the real-life submarine Nautilus built around the year 1800 by American inventor Robert Fulton. Many ideas Jules Verne wrote about were ahead of his time.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a legendary French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life underwater. Cousteau’s extraordinary legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000+ members. Cousteau liked to call himself an “oceanographic technician”. His work has enabled countless people to explore and better understand the oceans.
James Bond – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) is the tenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond, who escapes from Jaws due to his superior driving skills and his Lotus Esprit sports car/submarine. To demonstrate the car becoming a submarine, seven different models were used during filming, one for each step of the transformation. One of the car models was a fully mobile submarine complete with an engine. Even though he is a fictional character, he sparked the desire for glamorous, high-tech toys that may bring us further afield.
The Deepsea Challenger
Esteemed film-maker James Cameron joined the club of iconic explorers in 2013 when he set course for the deepest spot on the planet. He developed his own vessel for his journey, the Deepsea Challenger. He documented his adventure and shared it with the world in 2014 with his new film – Deepsea Challenge 3D. After this expedition he donated his submarine to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, USA.