Exploring the Oceans    Submersible Vehicles

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Submersible vehicles increase our ability to investigate the deep oceans.

Manned Submersibles
These submersibles like ALVIN carry people who make direct observations of the deep seas. People can react to surprising and new situations; they can change experiments and devise new ones on the fly. Manned submersibles cannot stay underwater long, however, and crew safety is always an important consideration.

ALVIN, a manned submersible

Automated Underwater Vehicles
AUVs combine robotics, thrusters, sonar, and sensors with artificial intelligence. They operate without continuous control from people. While most are still experimental, they hold great promise for deep sea exploration because they can perform routine tasks under water for months at a time.

An automated underwater vehicle

Remotely-Operated Vehicles
ROVs like JASON are controlled by people exploring the deep from a safe distance, usually a mother ship on the surface. ROVs often bristle with manipulator arms, cameras, lights and sensors to "see" and "feel" for their operators. ROVs can stay down longer than vehicles carrying people and transmit data constantly.

JASON: a remotely-operated vehicle

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