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The Inside Story of Virgin Oceanic's Mission To the Mariana Trench

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the inside-scoop dept.

Science 93

the_newsbeagle writes "Millionaire adventurer Chris Welsh, the driving force behind Virgin Oceanic, wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is. Welsh plans to pilot the experimental, cutting-edge sub to the bottom of the Mariana Trench sometime this year, in what would be only the second human descent to the deepest spot in the world's oceans (the first trip down was in 1960). This inside account of the Virgin Oceanic mission describes a team fueled by ego, science, and derring-do, and explains how their high-tech sub could usher in a new kind of marine exploration. The article also tells the story of an adventure on the high seas last summer, when Welsh & co visited the trench to test some robotic deep-sea landers... and ran smack into a typhoon."

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So, "cutting edge" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39202919)

is something that was already done in 1960?

Re:So, "cutting edge" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203125)

Yup. Just let me dig out my Pessimist's Dictionary. I know I have it around here somewhere... ah, there it is.

*a-hem*

"cutting-edge," adj. Like something done decades ago, but not repeated since due to public apathy about science and/or exploration. Usage example: "A cutting-edge mission to the moon would boost patriotism."

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203163)

Is it that hard to believe? Look at NASA. Its biggest accomplishment came in 1969, and we lack the capability to reproduce that accomplishment again today if we had to. Just because progress has been flat or backwards on these fronts over the last few decades doesn't mean that deep sea subs and moon landers are not cutting edge. It just means that it's time to hurry up and make some progress since the cutting edge isn't advancing fast enough.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (5, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203231)

I think that Hubble, the Mars rovers, and the upcoming JWST are much bigger accomplishments. Mission to the Moon was the biggest feat at the time, but the world doesn't sit still, yaknow. Hubble and JWST are more complex than the Apollo stack by almost any measure you would select.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (4, Insightful)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203433)

The thing about that is just because something is more complex does not make it more of an accomplishment.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39206441)

What about the accomplishment of managing extremely complex projects?

That's something that NASA has been breaking new ground for more than 50 years (many project management techniques were developed for NASA), yet it's not often credited.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206849)

The Mars rover and Hubble have accomplished more than all the moon missions put together---Unless you include getting one up on the Soviets as an accomplishment of course.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207117)

They did that too ;)

Re:So, "cutting edge" (2)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203711)

I think that Hubble, the Mars rovers, and the upcoming JWST are much bigger accomplishments. Mission to the Moon was the biggest feat at the time, but the world doesn't sit still, yaknow. Hubble and JWST are more complex than the Apollo stack by almost any measure you would select.

uhhhh, okay -- I'll bite. How about the capability to support the complex needs of a living organism against the harsh rigors of space? Hubble and JWST don't even have that capability, nor can they ever acquire it. What they are capable of is still fantastic, but if you are going to make comparisons, make sure you are not comparing apples to oranges. I think you just brought into sharp relief (cutting edge metaphor is good, let's stick with it) the difference between robotic missions and manned missions. I can't get as excited about another robotic mission as I could about a manned mission to Mars, though I have more than enough enthusiasm for science to get excited about both. We should be hammering on politicians' doors night and day demanding to know why we are being forced to choose one over the other when there is plenty of interest, collective wealth, and expertise to accomplish both with style and panache.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207123)

I don't think that the capability to support the complex needs of a living organism is in any way special. It's an engineering requirement, just like many others. You won't be putting it on a space telescope or on a robotic mission because it's not needed -- not because it's somehow supercomplex.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207489)

I don't think that the capability to support the complex needs of a living organism is in any way special. It's an engineering requirement, just like many others. You won't be putting it on a space telescope or on a robotic mission because it's not needed -- not because it's somehow supercomplex.

The intent of my post was to highlight the difference between how excited I can get over a routine robotic mission compared to a manned mission, with the additional caveat that I actually can get excited over both, and that we should lobby the gov to fund both. Sorry you missed that. Thanks for playing, though.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39208789)

... We should be hammering on politicians' doors night and day demanding to know why we are being forced to choose one over the other when there is plenty of interest, collective wealth, and expertise to accomplish both with style and panache.

Not through NASA's current bureaucracy, hardened silo's of project funding, and political ear-marked (aging)-infrastructure pork. What made NASA awesome was that the organization pulled a "moon-shot" (ahem) by unifying every aspect of their resources to a central mission (see the probably apocryphal story about the janitor and JFK - regardless of it's veracity, the mindset probably did exist in some fashion).

Re:So, "cutting edge" (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206229)

Hubble and JWST are more complex than the Apollo stack by almost any measure you would select.

They aren't more complex than the human being, which is typically part of the Apollo stack.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39219581)

Yeah, but the human being is arguably not man-designed. Man-made, maybe, but we can't claim the design :)

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39224035)

Yeah, but the human being is arguably not man-designed. Man-made, maybe, but we can't claim the design :)

This is a completely irrelevant point. The presence of a human brings a sophisticated system (sophisticated for the roles which it serves, such as command and control, sample collection, etc) that isn't present on the other vehicles which you mention. And I might add, that we have not yet come up with a more sophisticated system for the purposes which humans were used on Apollo. The state of the art hasn't advanced in half a century.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39224353)

That's all true, but the "part" of the Apollo stack that is the human is quite decoupled and limited. You don't need a human there, it's a frivolous excess, practically speaking. Having a robot in the Apollo stack would be just as fine; the humans were pretty useless -- for example in Apollo 13 you couldn't utilize human potential to go out there to the service module to fix stuff (not that it was fixable anyway); they barely could maintain their own life support to get back alive. Whatever they did on the Moon during Apollo was also something that would be no biggie for a robotic rover to do.

When it comes to whatever science you can do on the Moon (never mind Mars), it'd be much, much better to launch something like the MSL rover to the Moon. The support costs of such a mission would be much lower since you don't have to transmit so damn far, and the communication latency is so small that if you want, you can drive the rover remotely with a joystick.

The lunar module was 14,000kg. The ascent stage (the payload of the descent stage, really) was 4,500kg. Compare that to the MSL rover of just 900kg, and that's quite a lab if you ask me. You could have one heck of a rover on that Apollo descent stage!

What humans did on the Moon was equivalent perhaps to what the Spirit/Opportunity could do, modified for a sample return mission if you really want to hold the rocks down here on Earth. Once you have a couple tons to play with, you can have as complex of a lab as you can on Earth.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39225747)

Whatever they did on the Moon during Apollo was also something that would be no biggie for a robotic rover to do.

I disagree. I think here looking at actual astronauts in action during an Apollo mission would be enlightening. For example, Youtube has videos of the discovery of "orange soil" [youtube.com] , the discovery of an unusual and potentially valuable (some century down the road) volcanic deposit. They move about easily, make quick decisions, and collect samples for return to Earth, all with an effectiveness unmatched by current robotic systems.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39226473)

It's all in the economy of scale. Spirit and Opportunity have been doing their job for many years, at a duty cycle that beats or exceeds that of a human, even if their functionality is obviously much lower. Yet you can cover a lot of ground if you've got a couple years to look at things :) Something like an upsized MSL rover could do what would be fairly uneconomical for humans to achieve. That rover could realistically roam around on the Moon for a couple years, and we're talking about a minivan-sized machine. Good luck with sustaining any meatbags that long even on the Moon, never mind Mars...

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229783)

It's all in the economy of scale.

This is exactly where humans shine. We're at an extreme tail of space science, trying to do credible science in space on a minimal budget (much which gets consumed in pork barrel politics and excessive R&D cycles). We're optimizing R&D costs or national prestige for the dollar, not scientific output. Maximizing scientific output rate especially per dollar spent, means using humans as close as you can get to the target as long as you can. For places where people can actually live, such as the surface of Mars and the Moon, that means settlements and on site scientists.

If you want to just barely do science on Mars, then sure, the MSL is great for the price (though more MERs would be better).

So what are the advantages of humans that make them such good value for the dollar? The primary one is that they speed up the research cycle by orders of magnitude. For example, an Apollo lunar rover covered about as much ground as the MERs did. But it did so in less than three days as opposed to 5-6 years. That's more than two orders of improvement in speed of a critical task. Similar speedups can be obtained for other tasks such as selection of samples, running tests, changing one's mind in the field, etc.

Questions that might go unanswered in a purely robotic regime over the career of a working scientist could be answered in weeks or months with a manned presence. This is the true cost of a robotics approach. What little gets saved by doing things slowly and perhaps a little cheaper on Mars is lost by squandering the vastly more valuable Earth-side resources that are vastly unutilized.

Second, humans have a great deal of synergy with any project which requires considerable power and mass anyway. If you're throwing a lot of power and mass on a project anyway, then it's not that significant to add humans. You get considerable additional capabilities for relatively little cost, which for humans is just some of that power and mass, both which often can be made to overlap with the other needs of the mission.

Third, humans do great repairs and kluges. Simple problems that might kill a mission (such as inability to unfold an antenna or dirty solar panels) can be quickly fixed by a human hand. With enough humans on site, you can even make tools and instruments locally rather than launch them from Earth.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (3, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203295)

The Trieste was a bathyscaphe [wikipedia.org] - a hard sphere hanging from a flotation device.
This is a true submarine - it dives and ascends as a single unit: http://www.virginoceanic.com/vehicles/submersible/ [virginoceanic.com]
The unmanned Nereus [wikipedia.org] also reached the Challenger Deep, piloted remotely through a fiber optic cable.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (3, Insightful)

Lando (9348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39205513)

Bathyscaphe, submarine, does it matter. The bathyscaphe was autonomous, it had not connection to the surface and had propellers to move it around. This is likely tied to the article they had a few weeks/months back about being the first to get to the bottom. Sounds like it's just trying to drum up publicity, but knowing that people know about the previous visit they are not saying it's the first any longer. Actually the previous was about some Chinese submersibles I think. It's interesting, but just wanted to point out that differences are minor versus major as the above comment tries to assert.

The vehicle is certainly cutting-edge (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203325)

Read up on Welsh's Deep Flight Challenger [deepflight.com] . As TFA says, it makes the 1960 vehicle, the Bathyscaphe Trieste [wikipedia.org] , look like a zeppelin compared to a fighter jet.

Re:The vehicle is certainly cutting-edge (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39205613)

Pfft. The Trieste has nothing in common with the german brand of dirigibles. I mean, yeah, both vessels have a low occupy-able area compared to the total volume of the craft, and are lighter than the ambient medium with buoyancy provided by a rigid cylinder filled with highly flammable fluid, but other than that, I can't see any similarities.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (2)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204103)

Open heart surgery first happened in 1960, do you doubt that today's performances are not cutting edge ?

Re:So, "cutting edge" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39205221)

Well, they do use some very sharp scalpels!

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39208337)

wouldn't any surgery be "cutting edge"???

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204335)

The trip, yes. National Geographic, to which I had a subscription, had a good article on Walsh and Piccard's endeavor.

The means, decidedly no. I would never suggest reading the article to learn something, of course.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204469)

i believe the 1960 vehicle had the ability to go down, then up. period. this one can go down, explore around, then go up. kind of the difference between an elevator and an airplane.

Re:So, "cutting edge" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39294811)

if you want cutting edge how about James Cameron, he is on his way there NOW!!!! For a SOLO Dive to the Trench.

Chris Walsh will not be the first to the bottom since the 1960's.

James Cameron just made a successful dive to 8000m in his Challenger Deep , and plans to reach the bottom of the trench.

National Geographic has just launched blog site for the mission follow the link to read more about how the Australian Team have hand built every aspect of this awesome vehicle

http://deepseachallenge.com/latest-news/cameron-to-walsh-on-record-8k-dive-youd-have-loved-it/

Beans.

To the tune of the wizard of oz (1)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39202925)

We're off to see the sponge bob, the spunge bob of the deep...

Re:To the tune of the wizard of oz (1)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39202941)

Bahh, rushed the spelling, but got the 1st post:O)

Re:To the tune of the wizard of oz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39202979)

Close, but no cigar, faget. AC beat you with a clever post about something something 1960. Maybe if you pull the dicks out of your mouth you'll be able to see the keyboard better, type up your fagety first post better and you'll for the win. Instead your loser faget second poster.

Re:To the tune of the wizard of oz (0)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203035)

Thanks buddy. You point things out well.

Re:To the tune of the wizard of oz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203123)

That episode where he takes a trip to Rock Bottom was pretty awesome...and spooky....

Re:To the tune of the wizard of oz (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203165)

In future news, Communication was suddenly lost with the deep sea sub Scarlett shortly after reaching the deepest place in the ocean.

a team fueled by ego (4, Funny)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39202953)

Is that carbon neutral? Why haven't I seen cars that run on ego? It's some kind of government conspiracy to keep us dependent on oil. Roswell!

Re:a team fueled by ego (4, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203057)

Is that carbon neutral? Why haven't I seen cars that run on ego? It's some kind of government conspiracy to keep us dependent on oil. Roswell!

Ego produces harmful clouds of smug, a far worse pollutant than CO2.

Re:a team fueled by ego (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203373)

Not to mention unstable, if two egos get too close and reach critical rivalry an uncontrolled chain reaction occurs and the fallout can poison the surroundings for years.

Re:a team fueled by ego (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203075)

Tesla?

Re:a team fueled by ego (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206413)

Is that carbon neutral? Why haven't I seen cars that run on ego?

The conversion rate of ego to useful energy is poor. Luckily, the team have Branson about so they've got near-infinite amounts of ego on site, but redistributing to the rest of the world is impractical. (If we could substitute ego for hyperbole and hot air, we'd be able to make some use of politicians...)

Re:a team fueled by ego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39206519)

How else do you think we get our heads in the clouds?

Better headline... (4, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39202969)

Scarlett to probe deep in Virgin trenches

Re:Better headline... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203073)

Goes down, enormous blow job.

Re:Better headline... (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207969)

Goes down, enormous blow job.

Only on the way back up, though!

Re:Better headline... (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203913)

This is Slashdot, not Fark...

Re:Better headline... (1)

ducman (107063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204915)

This story just reminded me how long it's been since I saw a Natalie Portman/hot grits post!

Hey (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203009)

While they're down there, they should totally bring back up some better presidential candidates than we have now. Shouldn't be too hard to find one.

Re:Hey (5, Funny)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203107)

No, they checked already in 1960, there is nothing but bottom dwelling invertebrates there too.

Re:Hey (0)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203139)

*ahem* DATS DA JOKE

Re:Hey (4, Funny)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204115)

> No, they checked already in 1960, there is nothing but bottom dwelling invertebrates there too.

lawyer convention ?

<insert rim shot >

Re:Hey (2)

Centurix (249778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203391)

They'll be under the pile of dead lawyers.

Virgin (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203015)

Something I've always wondered about that UK company, does the adjective virgin have the same connotation in the UK as it does here?
Or is it kind of like "I need a fag" means something completely different in the UK vs US?
Do all Virgin(TM) advertisements revolve around the inside breathless account of men penetrating deeply into the never before seen trench or cave or whatever female analogy they can scare up?

Re:Virgin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203121)

Sir Richard has dressed like a chick. [google.com] before.

I can only assume that in that instance he was considering being penetrated?

Re:Virgin (3, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203193)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The brand name "Virgin" arose when Branson and a partner were starting their first business, a record shop. They considered themselves virgins in business. The current Virgin logo was originally sketched on a paper napkin and remains largely unchanged since 1979.

Of course, that sentence has [citation needed] on it on Wikipedia, so I won't dare claim that it's accurate.

As for its meaning in the UK, I couldn't say. I live on the other side of the pond.

Re:Virgin (2)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206931)

It's in Branson's autobiography, if I remember correctly. It's been a long time since I read it (15 years plus, probably).

Re:Virgin (1)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39205305)

> does the adjective virgin have the same connotation in the UK as it does here? [USA]

Yes, it does have the same meaning. It was really racy until FCUK [wikipedia.org] started in '97.

Re:Virgin (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211935)

Damn, I'd hate to be around you when you see some virgin snow. Unless I have a video camera handy, that stuff's gold on youtube.

Re:Virgin (1)

NoseyNick (19946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234233)

Yes, Virgin means, y'know, untouched, unsoiled, etc in the UK too.
Richard Branson's brands have included Virgin Records, Virgin Games, Virgin Cola, Virgin Airways, Virgin Megastores, Virgin Trains, most amusingly Virgin Brides, but Mates Condoms.

Derring Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203037)

I've been corrupted. Derring-Do is the name of one a storybook character (an Indiana Jones Spoof really - though I believe they spell it "Daring Do") in one of the recent episodes of the show My Little Pony. It gives the phrase, "a team fueled by ego, science, and derring-do" a rather different meaning. I will say though, that the thought of sending one of those ponies to the bottom of the Mariana Trench is rather intriguing.

Re:Derring Do (3, Interesting)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203115)

<pedant type="helpful" src="wikimedia">

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/derring-do [wiktionary.org]

Etymology
From Middle English daring to do.

Noun
derring-do (uncountable)

1. Valiant deeds in desperate times.
2. Brave and adventurous, often reckless actions.

</pedant>

Quite the euphemism there. (4, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203067)

On Virgin's mission to the Mariana trench - will it be a gentle descent, or will they keep hammering the bottom?

Re:Quite the euphemism there. (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203109)

... and what creature of the deep surfaces 9 months later... Godzilla!

Re:Quite the euphemism there. (2)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203597)

Phnglui mglw nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah nagl fhtagn.

This could be a serious mistake. Disturb the Great Old Ones at your peril.

Re:Quite the euphemism there. (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39205615)

Less Godzilla, more Leviathan. :)

Mmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203091)

I'd like to lead an expedition to Marina's [wikipedia.org] trench....

Re:Mmm (0)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203255)

+1 informative right there :)

Leap Day (2)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203143)

I hope they don't disturb Leap Day William. I want to be able to exchange my tears for candy.

somehow disappointing (4, Funny)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203199)

somehow disappointing that in the story there are hyperlinks to various stuff, but "Scarlett Johansson" is just a plain text

Re:somehow disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39205215)

> "Scarlett Johansson" is just a plain text

You take that back!

I know a guy who wants a ride there (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203259)

An architect I know wants to take a year sabbatical to do a bottom-to-top trek, "starting" at the bottom of the trench and "ending" at the top of Everest. He hasn't figured out exactly how to get funding for the dive portion...maybe he can hitch a ride?

Re:I know a guy who wants a ride there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39208829)

Much easier to "start" at the top of Everest and "end" at the bottom of the trench. Since he's "ending" there, funding for a pair of concrete dive boots should be a lot cheaper than buying a seat on a sub.

Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203265)

wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is

So... not that sexy? Perhaps that's a bit rough - she's okay - but seriously?
Offhand, I can easily think of several other women, and a couple of Italian motorcycles, that are way sexier. :-)

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203323)

Yea the sub might be pretty cool, but I'd hardly call it "sexy".

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203421)

And that's, of course, just, like, your opinion, man.

And without at least one or a few examples of other celebrities (let's assume this is about sexy celebrities), we can't analyse much about your character based on who you think is sexy.

I'll just throw in my sexy celeb worthy of having a sub named after him: William H Macy.

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203771)

wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is

So... not that sexy? Perhaps that's a bit rough - she's okay - but seriously? Offhand, I can easily think of several other women, and a couple of Italian motorcycles, that are way sexier. :-)

couldn't agree more (pats ducati 1098 lovingly.)

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204027)

wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is

So... not that sexy? Perhaps that's a bit rough - she's okay - but seriously? Offhand, I can easily think of several other women, and a couple of Italian motorcycles, that are way sexier. :-)

couldn't agree more (pats ducati 1098 lovingly.)

Googled your bike - WOW.
[ Note: I *was* going to say that I could "think of ... that are way sexier and smarter" but thought that was too mean :-) ]

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206921)

Blond with big tits is the definition of sexy.

Re:Chris Welsh is 14 years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39208083)

Only for douche bags.

love the hyperbole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203319)

"Virgin Oceanic is taking the next step in human exploration. This time, the voyage is to the last frontiers of our own Blue Planet: the very bottom of our seas."

Oh my, how grandiose. You're going where we went decades ago, and it makes more sense to send robots anyhow? What are people going to do down there? How is this the "next step"? Exploring what? Sand? We know what's there. Since decades. Ah, it sucks to be alive during the decline of a civilization, but it's also exciting to watch the real next step. I don't know what it is yet, will it be biotech? Social revolutions that will allow us to live within our practical limits? Will I see the end of the suburbs/home ownership/car/career social model?

THAT'S cutting edge, that's exciting. Not pictures. Real changes that affect the entire human race, not just a handful of idle rich white middle-aged men with severe personality dysfunctions.

Re:love the hyperbole (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203833)

I have no desire to "live within our limits". *That* is nothing more than static and survival and honestly is pretty much the fall of a civilization too. I want my descendants, if they are around, to have things to look forward to other than trying to eke out their existence in some niche we burrow out for ourselves in the ecosystem.

I agree that this is not exactly a feat that has never done before, but putting people *anywhere* is a feat worth doing, even if it is not the most efficient thing possible.

Re:love the hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39204863)

"I have no desire to "live within our limits"."

Yet you do, every day. I said "practical" limits BTW. This means reality. This means no space elevators, no moon colonies, and I have many doubts about even getting fusion power reactors working. Limits such as how much energy we can muster per person. As I said, a civilization may "fall", and something else will rise up. Usually, you only notice in hindsight. The Victorians didn't just suddenly disappear, it took a while, then poof, gone. Now we look back. The Victorians "fell" too. So?

Re:love the hyperbole (1)

rujholla (823296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214101)

it's also exciting to watch the real next step. I don't know what it is yet, will it be biotech? Social revolutions that will allow us to live within our practical limits?

Boring!! Well I guess biotech is interesting, but a world without people trying to exceed our "practical limits?" Not to long ago a 4 minute mile was considered a human limit. Going to the moon was definitely outside our "practical limits." Oh well I guess I'm just glad not everyone thinks the same way as you.

marijuana trench (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203339)

totally read this as "marijuana trench". was very excited.

Re:marijuana trench (3, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39203841)

That's like, so totally deep.

Re:marijuana trench (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39205997)

<giggle>

cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39203385)

so I see the sub, sitting on top of a huge boat , named Virgin Oceanic, etc....

So are these guys just spending their money because they have too f-ing much of it, or is there some business expense here,
that Richard Branson is able to write it all off of his mothership holding company as the expenses trickle upwards from all his
other Virgin ventures.

Virgin also has that space flight company too. The expenses to do the research there and get flight worthy, etc.. must be f-ing huge.

It's like a giant sinkhole.

Quartz dome (4, Insightful)

SixDimensionalArray (604334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204009)

I was interested in the sub's specs - the glass cockpit "dome" is apparently made of quartz. The only other subs with these kinds of domes that I've seen that can get to these depths without being crushed by the enormous pressures use some type of borosilicate glass. My understanding is the only difference between the two types of glass is the amount of silica (SiO2) in them.

Looks like a race to the bottom - I think the other company was Triton submarines that used the borosilicate glass domes. Whatever it is - it is fascinating to see the use of these materials which actually get stronger under pressure!

Re:Quartz dome (1)

SoulNibbler (2194576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207957)

Quartz has some neat stress properties. You can take a white hot quartz tube and quench it in water and it stays a tube. If you do that with borosilicate, (not that you can really get it as hot) you end up with crunchy bits.

Oxymoron alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39204711)

'Virgin' and 'Scarlett Johansson' should never be on the same sentence.

I know I could just google image it (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39204811)

but guys, you pissed away a good oppourtunity to post some SJ pics
Like this!
https://www.google.com/search?q=scarlett%20johansen&hl=en&biw=1272&bih=843&sei=L-NOT5vSFoWuiQeU7onDCw&tbm=isch [google.com]

Also the potential of mentioning floatation devices too, oh for shame :(

Dirty bastard (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39205171)

He just wants to be able to say he's deep inside Scarlett

One of my first cars didn't have a reverse (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39206037)

It really didn't cause any problems, but then it was never underwater or used to explore caves.

If he were wise (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39207119)

he would name it Cthulu, in a chance to appease the Master he no doubt will rouse from slumber.
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