A Unique underwater observatory, with a special clear acrylic hull giving its crew all-round vision, had been undergoing deepwater tests off the Bahamas.
A Unique underwater observatory, with a special clear acrylic hull giving its crew all-round vision, had been undergoing deepwater tests off the Bahamas. It has been built for the United States Navy.
The new development is called the Naval Experimental Manned Observatory -- MEMO for short -- and it has already completed more than 100 dives of varying depths and duration, including a descent to 500 feet (over 150 metres) off Free port, Grand Bahama Island.
The clear spherical hull is equipped with a steel entry hatch at top and bottom, through which power, life support and communications lines enter the sphere from a module below. The sphere itself is two-and-a-half inches (over six cms) thick and has been built to withstand pressure at depths greater than 4,000 feet (1,200 metres).
NEMO can carry a two-man crew in the comfort of a simulated sea-level atmosphere. The panoramic visibility provided by the Sphere is considered a breakthrough for scientists and engineers involved in underwater research, construction and salvage operations.
Further tests will be carried out in the Pacific prior to NEMO's acceptance by the U.S. Navy. In the Pacific, the observatory is expected to reach a depth of 600 feet (182 metres).