Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's ALVIN turns 60!

This year, the human-occupied submersible Alvin is celebrating its 60th birthday. But the sub is hardly looking forward to retirement. Thirty years ago, on its 30th birthday, Alvin had finished a remarkable run of iconic achievements that included finding a lost hydrogen bomb, helping discover hydrothermal vents, and exploring the wreck of the Titanic.

Courtesy of WHOI

By any account, it could have rested on its laurels and retired to a museum. Instead, it turned a new page in its history that opened up even more of the ocean and seafloor to scientists’ eyes and imaginations.

Today, Alvin barely resembles the original sub—or even the sub of 30 years ago. The name is the same, but everything about it has changed. After an extended overhaul that was completed in 2021, Alvin can now dive to a depth of 6500 meters, or four miles. And, as you read this, the sub is carrying scientists to its deepest science dives yet on a mission to study methane seeps and ecosystems on the seafloor south of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

We’ll be celebrating Alvin through the summer and marking significant milestones along the way, including its commissioning on June 5. We invite you to join us in commemorating Alvin’s 60th by sharing a birthday message to Alvin on your social media channels with the hashtag #Alvin60. Posts on Instagram will also appear on Alvin’s 60th birthday website!

Alvin might be turning 60, but the best is almost certainly yet to come.

Alvin is commissioned on June 5 in Woods Hole (Courtesy of WHOI)

Location: USA

About Cookies - We use cookies to improve your browsing experience and help us improve our websites. For more information please click here.