A lander developed by Kevin Hardy, a former engineer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, made three dives to depths of more than 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) in late January and early February at the Atacama Trench off Chile. One of the dives established a new record depth for the trench of 8,081 meters (26,512 feet). The deep ocean vehicle (DOV) Audacia, commissioned by the University of Concepción, is a successor to the craft designed by Hardy that was deployed during filmmaker James Cameron's historic dive to the world's deepest place, the Mariana Trench, in March 2012. Scripps microbiologist Doug Bartlett was the chief scientist on that voyage, known as DEEPSEA CHALLENGE.
DOV Audacia filmed and gathered data at its landing sites in the trench and collected water samples that will give scientists a first-ever opportunity to survey the types of microorganisms that inhabit it. A baited trap on board also collected amphipods that live five miles below the surface in the trench. The Instituto Milenio de Oceanografía in Concepción led the cruise aboard Chilean science vessel Cabo de Hornos. Besides Hardy, 2003 Scripps graduate Peter von Dassow, now a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, took part in the cruise..
Watch video of cruise highlights produced by the University of Concepción.
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