The sea is an uncharted frontier on Earth. It’s amazing how little we know of what lies beneath the ocean. Astounding creatures like the Mantis Shrimp that are beautiful and terribly violent and creatures like the ‘immortal’ jellyfish have restored interest in deep sea exploration. As with space exploration, the great challenge is to withstand the extreme conditions beneath the sea namely, water pressure. Unlike space however, life is much more accessible and so sending robots to collect samples and analyzing them doesn’t work because most undersea life is crushed under the weight of heavy machinery.
The Exosuit is a 500 pound metal suit that will allow divers to withstand water pressure up to 1000 feet below sea level. Scuba divers could only swim a few hundred feet down without succumbing to the weight of the water and they were not the most well equipped to harvest under sea life. The Exosuit seems like its here to stay and make the others obsolete.
The suit is state of the art with robotic claws that can capture under sea life and copper and fiber optic cables are fitted in to provide crystal clear communication between the diver and the control room. It will also be equipped with cartridges to contain whatever organisms are captured and a camera to send detailed photos of the specimens. The suit takes about 10 minutes to descend 1000 feet and can provide 50 hours of oxygen to the diver.
The suit costs $1.3 million and will be descending in to the sea 160 km off the coast of New England.
The main interest scientists have with this breakthrough is it’s effectiveness in studying bio luminescence, the chemical process by which undersea creatures produce their own light beneath the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine. Understanding it could help monitor cancer cells and replace conventional lights.