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Project Nekton Redux
April 5, 2011 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Over 50 years after the original Project Nekton, high-flying adventurer Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Oceanic team plans five dives into the deep blue sea with a one-man flying sub, starting with the 36,201 foot deep Mariana Trench.
posted by cenoxo (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 


The craft will cruise at a max of 3 knots and can dive 350ft per minute. At that speed, a dive to the bottom of the Marianna trench and back is estimated to take about five hours.

Yeah. Me, in that tiny little human-shaped capsule. For five hours. To the very depths of the sea.

my that's a very pretty shade of white i'm seei

posted by mykescipark at 11:24 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Based on the design of that sub, I take it Branson is gunning for the bad guy role in the next GI Joe movie.
posted by brundlefly at 11:24 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


the idea reminds me of the awesome underwater LEGO sets i had - Aquanauts. i'm glad Branson exists
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:35 PM on April 5, 2011


Make sure you breathe in that pink goo-stuff first.
posted by bardic at 11:41 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


and then punch James Cameron in the face
posted by One Thousand and One at 1:10 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was once told by a very high up businesswomen to never leave a PR team to work without supervision. "Because they are "shit shiners" and they can make the biggest shit shine like a mirror. And even shinny shit is still shit."

I am not saying this looks like shit, I will say it looks like a PR firm run amuck.
posted by Felex at 1:19 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Subduction.
posted by pracowity at 1:54 AM on April 6, 2011


Fuck the jetpack; where's my one-man flying sub?
Not only is the future here, but why aren't we all rich?
posted by artof.mulata at 2:04 AM on April 6, 2011


So I'm wondering... why a manned vehicle?
posted by ctmf at 2:39 AM on April 6, 2011


Do we have any experts in quartz engineering here? How do you make a quartz dome big enough to be the canopy for that thing? How thick and heavy is it?
posted by pracowity at 2:40 AM on April 6, 2011


So I'm wondering... why a manned vehicle?

I don't know about the original designers, but I'm sure Branson is in this for the ride to the bottom. Science is cool, discovery is cool, but he would be happy to foot the bill if we didn't learn a damned thing from it but he got to scoot along the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
posted by pracowity at 2:43 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Zero G is my ideal. Lots of G and tons of pressure at record speed, fucking yikes.
I'd ride a janky parachute with a faulty oxygen tank out of a homemade weather balloon before I'd climb into the best tube money can buy to go for a fast dive to maximum depth. (even if I had the magic pink goo)

Good on him for dealing well with all atmospheres; I'm gonna go sit with the arachnophobes from a few threads ago and watch furtively.
posted by hypersloth at 2:48 AM on April 6, 2011


"Flying sub" - no, it's not. It doesn't "fly" any more than any other submarine does. This one, on the other hand...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:53 AM on April 6, 2011


Wikipedia: At the bottom of the trench, where the plates meet, the water column above exerts a pressure of 1,086 bars (15,750 psi) [7.875 tons/si], over one thousand times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level.

Any tiny engineering flaw in the sub's hull or quartz dome is magnified over a thousand times. Cold, utterly dark, and compressed into a thimble: pride only gives way before destruction.
posted by cenoxo at 3:54 AM on April 6, 2011


Winged Submersibles: flying sub designer Graham Hawkes explains underwater flight. More at TED and Popular Mechanics.
posted by cenoxo at 4:22 AM on April 6, 2011


Branson's one of the few really rich people who seems to have a great deal of fun with it, do really interesting things and basically have a blast. Good luck to him, this sounds amazing. Why risk your life to get to the bottom of the Mariana Trench? Because it's down there.
posted by joannemullen at 4:26 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This. Seconded for truth. If you are as filthy rich as a Bond villain, try at least to live like one. And remember: in your income bracket, everybody has a megayacht. Try to be original.
posted by Skeptic at 4:51 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm used to how previous Mariana Trench submersibles looked, but that thing doesn't look like it could make the trip.

I guess maybe modern materials don't need to look as clunky.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:53 AM on April 6, 2011


Seconded for truth.

Thirded. Man's got some awesome stories. I definitely recommend his autobiography.
posted by inigo2 at 6:38 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read Watts's Starfish. Nothing good can come of this.
posted by doteatop at 6:42 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, joanne. Guys like the Kochs should sit up and pay attention. Branson's got rocket ships and submarines covered, but there's still plenty of opportunity in dirigibles.
posted by notyou at 7:32 AM on April 6, 2011


Flying Sub?

Where's Richard Basehart when we need him?
posted by Herodios at 7:56 AM on April 6, 2011


Branson? Dirigibles? been there, done that.
posted by warbaby at 8:19 AM on April 6, 2011


Yes.... closer....
posted by FatherDagon at 8:34 AM on April 6, 2011


Where's Richard Basehart when we need him?

He's busy.
posted by pracowity at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2011


Any tiny engineering flaw in the sub's hull or quartz dome is magnified over a thousand times. Cold, utterly dark, and compressed into a thimble: pride only gives way before destruction.
Have you read the story of the dive to the Challenger Deep? During the descent there was a loud bang, which turned out to be the Plexiglas viewport cracking. They decided to continue the descent.

Now if that was me, I'd have been dropping ballast and heading topside quick-smart [if only because of the overpowering smell of shit in the pressure sphere...]
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:16 PM on April 6, 2011


This is very cool and what being filthy rich should be all about. I'm hoping he makes it there and back in one piece and doesn't forget to charge the batteries on his camera.
posted by arcticseal at 7:39 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this makes sense. I use whatever little disposable income I have to do Cool Shit, or my definition thereof. I like the idea that he's spending his massive disposable income to do his Cool Shit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:11 PM on April 7, 2011


None of my disposable income goes toward imprisoning myself in a small dark sensory deprivation box for 5 hours for the chance at getting smashed into a gooey paste. Whatever floats sinks his boat, though.
posted by ctmf at 7:44 PM on April 7, 2011


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