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  • David Biello: So Victor, what have you been up to?

  • Victor Vescovo: That's the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean,

  • and I guess I read too much Jules Verne as a young boy,

  • and so for the last four years I've led a team to design and build

  • what is now the most advanced and deepest diving submersible on the planet,

  • and I have the ability to personally pilot it too.

  • So this was us in December of last year,

  • for the first time -- the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

  • DB: And nobody's seen that before right?

  • That's just you. VV: No.

  • Well, now everybody else.

  • DB: Who does that?

  • Like --

  • VV: Well, I think everyone has seen the developments in the last 10, 15 years.

  • You have a bunch of people that have the means to explore outer space,

  • like SpaceX or Blue Origin --

  • those guys --

  • and we're going the other direction.

  • So it's a wonderful era

  • of private individuals spending their resources

  • to develop technologies that can take us to places

  • that have never been explored before,

  • and the oceans of the world is --

  • it's almost a cliché to say it's 70 percent of our entire planet,

  • and of that, 95 percent is unexplored.

  • So what we're trying to do with our expedition

  • is to build and prove out a submersible

  • that can go to any point on the bottom of the planet

  • to explore the 60 percent of this planet that is still unexplored.

  • DB: You need a pretty cool tool to do that, right?

  • VV: Right.

  • Now the tool is the submarine, the Limiting Factor.

  • It's a state-of-the-art vessel

  • supported by the support ship, the Pressure Drop.

  • It has a two-person titanium sphere, 90 millimeters-thick,

  • that keeps it at one atmosphere,

  • and it has the ability to dive repeatedly

  • down to the very deepest point of the ocean.

  • DB: So like the SpaceX of ocean exploration?

  • VV: Yeah, it's kind of the SpaceX of ocean exploration,

  • but I pilot my own vehicles.

  • (Laughter)

  • DB: Are you going to take Elon or...?

  • VV: Yeah, I could take someone down there.

  • So, Elon, if you're listening,

  • I'll give you a ride in mine if you give me a ride in yours.

  • (Laughter)

  • DB: So tell us what it's like down there.

  • I mean, we're talking about a place where the pressure is so intense

  • that it's like putting an Eiffel Tower on your toe.

  • VV: It's more than that.

  • It's about 16,000 psi.

  • So the issue is that we have this titanium sphere

  • that allows us to go down to these extreme depths

  • and come up repeatedly.

  • That's never been done before.

  • The Challenger Deep has been dived twice,

  • once in 1960 and once in 2012 by James Cameron,

  • and they went down and came back up and those were experimental craft.

  • This is the first commercially certified submersible

  • that can go up and down thousands of times with two people,

  • including a scientist.

  • We're very proud that we took down

  • the deepest-diving British citizen in history

  • just three weeks ago, Dr. Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University

  • who was down with us on the Java Trench.

  • DB: So, not too much freaks you out, is what I'm guessing.

  • VV: Well, it's a lot different to go diving.

  • If you're claustrophobic, you do not want to be in the submarine.

  • We go down quite a distance

  • and the missions typically last eight to nine hours in a confined space.

  • It's very different from the career I had previously

  • which was mountain climbing where you're in open spaces,

  • the wind is whipping, it's very cold.

  • This is the opposite. It's much more technical.

  • It's much more about precision in using the instruments

  • and troubleshooting anything that can go wrong.

  • But if something really goes wrong in the submersible,

  • you're not going to know it.

  • (Laughter)

  • DB: So you're afraid of leaks is what you're saying.

  • VV: Leaks are not good, but if it's a leak that's happening,

  • it's not that bad because if it was really bad

  • you wouldn't know it, again, but --

  • you know, fire in the capsule, that wouldn't be good either,

  • but it's actually a very safe submersible.

  • I like to say I don't trust a lot of things in life,

  • but I do trust titanium, I trust math

  • and I trust finite element analysis,

  • which is how you figure out

  • whether or not things like this can survive

  • these extraordinary pressures and conditions.

  • DB: And that sphere is so perfectly machined, right?

  • This is a truly unique craft.

  • VV: That was the real trick --

  • is actually building a titanium sphere

  • that was accurate to within .1 percent of machine.

  • Titanium is a hard metal to work

  • and a lot of people haven't figured it out,

  • but we were very fortunate.

  • Our extraordinary team was able to make an almost perfect sphere,

  • which when you're subjecting something to pressure,

  • that's the strongest geometry you can have.

  • When I'm in the submersible and that hatch closes,

  • I'm confident that I'm going to go down and come back up.

  • DB: And that's the thing you double-check --

  • that the hatch is closed?

  • VV: There are only two rules in diving a submarine.

  • Number one is close the hatch securely.

  • Number two is go back to rule number one.

  • DB: Alright so, Atlantic Ocean: check.

  • Southern Ocean: check.

  • VV: No one has ever dived the Southern Ocean before.

  • I know why.

  • It's really, really hostile.

  • The weather is awful.

  • The word collision comes to mind.

  • But we did that one, yes.

  • Glad that's over -- DB: Yeah --

  • VV: Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • DB: It's like you're racing through it.

  • And now the Indian Ocean, as Kelly mentioned.

  • VV: Yeah, that was three weeks ago.

  • We were fortunate enough to actually solve the mystery.

  • If someone had asked me three weeks ago,

  • "What is the deepest point in the Indian Ocean?" --

  • no one really knew.

  • There were two candidates,

  • one off of Western Australia and one in the Java Trench.

  • We have this wonderful ship with a brilliant sonar.

  • We mapped both of them.

  • We sent landers down to the bottom and verified.

  • It's actually in the center portion of the Java Trench,

  • which is where no one thought it was.

  • In fact, every time we've completed one of our major dives,

  • we have to run off to Wikipedia and change it

  • because it's completely wrong.

  • (Laughter)

  • DB: So it probably takes longer to get down there

  • than the time you're able to spend down there?

  • VV: No, we actually spend quite a bit of time.

  • I have four days of oxygen supply in the vessel.

  • If I'm down there for four days,

  • something's gone so wrong I'm probably not going to use it,

  • but it's about three hours down to the deepest part of the ocean

  • and then we can spend usually three or four hours

  • and then another three hours up.

  • So you don't want to stay in there for more than 10 or 11 hours.

  • It can get a little tight.

  • DB: Alright, so the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

  • And this is something that no one besides you has ever seen before --

  • VV: This is actually imagery from one of our robotic landers.

  • On the bottom right you can actually see a robust assfish --

  • that's what it's actually called.

  • (Laughter)

  • But you can see from the left a creature that's never been seen before.

  • It's actually a bottom-dwelling jellyfish called a stalked ascidian,

  • and none of them have ever looked like this before.

  • It actually has a small child at the bottom of its stalk,

  • and it just drifted across beautifully.

  • So every single dive we have gone on,

  • even though we're only down there for a couple of hours,

  • we have found three or four new species

  • because these are places that have been isolated for billions of years

  • and no human being has ever been down there to film them

  • or take samples.

  • And so this is extraordinary for us --

  • (Applause)

  • So what we are hoping --

  • the main objective of our mission is to build this tool.

  • This tool is a door,

  • because with this tool,

  • we'll be able to make more of them potentially

  • and take scientists down to do thousands of dives,

  • to open that door to exploration

  • and find things that we had no idea even existed.

  • DB: And so more people have been to space than the bottom of the ocean.

  • You're one of three.

  • You're going to up that number, you're going to give it away.

  • VV: Yeah, three people have dived to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

  • The USS Trieste in 1960 with two individuals.

  • James Cameron in 2012 with his Deep Sea Challenger --

  • thank you, Jim, great sub.

  • This is a third-generation technology.

  • We're not only going to try and go down, actually in two weeks,

  • but we're going to try and do it multiple times,

  • which has never been done before.

  • If we can do that, we'll have proven the technology

  • and that door will not just go open, it will stay open.

  • (Applause)

  • DB: Fantastic. Good luck.

  • VV: Thank you very much. DB: Thank you.

  • VV: Thank you all.

  • (Applause)

David Biello: So Victor, what have you been up to?

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TED】ビクター・ヴェスコヴォ。海の底には何があるのか--そしてどのようにしてそこにたどり着くのか (海の底には何があるのか--そしてどのようにしてそこにたどり着くのか|ビクター・ヴェスコヴォ) (【TED】Victor Vescovo: What's at the bottom of the ocean -- and how we're getting there (What's at the bottom of the ocean -- and how we're getting there | Vi

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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