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October 26 2012

Deep-sea vehicle Alvin gets splashy makeover

Humans have explored only a tiny fraction of the deep-sea floor, but the deep-diving submersible vehicle Alvin gets credit for a considerable share of what humanity has seen in the water's dark, alien depths.

Alvin, which can ferry three people into the deep sea, has made 4,664 dives since its first in 1965. Alvin has explored the wreckage of the doomed Titanic, revealed otherworldly life flourishing at hydrothermal vents and their cooler counterparts, cold seeps. Most recently, Alvin was dispatched to investigate the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

After all of these missions, Alvin is getting an upgrade.

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