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Branson sinks sub dream: Plan to explore Earth's bottom scrapped

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Colour me surprised

Well, the design on the pic can never go under several hundred meters. 180 degree vision glass canopies are nice for shallow coral reefs. Mariana trench - not so much.

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Re: Colour me surprised

Not too sure about that, with modern glass-making/laminating techniques. But a dome like that would probably be prohibitively expensive. Especially if you factor in the "zero"-risk tolerance you need to have if you want to take Tourists to an environment that's even more lethal than outer space. Vision distortion would be a major problem too at the thickness needed. It's probably technically possible, but it would be effectively useless.

If you do want to have a look around down there, the only economic way would be to use a closed shell and camera feeds, which sort of defeats the purpose of being physically down there for most people in the first place. You can do the same with a robotic craft, without the risk to life and ..oh wait.. there's no other choice down there...

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Anonymous Coward

"We would like to thank you for choosing Virgin Submersibles"

" On your left you can see some fish, and on your right you can see some fish".

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Re: "We would like to thank you for choosing Virgin Submersibles"

More like:

"On your left it's really dark and there's not much happening. On your right it's really dark and there's not much happening. Oh, and there's James Cameron."

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Coat

Hmm...

I suspect you could simulate a trip to the bottom of the deep ocean quite easily.

Get one of those full-motion flight simulator rigs used for virtual roller-coasters, pop some portholes in the sides, stick it in a dark room, blow in a bit of smoke, rig up a couple of spotlights and digital projectors. Oh and don't forget to turn off the heating.

That would give you the I-can't-see-anything and something-just-out-of-range-of-the-lights experience reported by real aqua-boffins, without the long, tedious journey from and (hopefully) to the surface.

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Trollface

Re: Hmm...

What? No! They want the full experience, I say give it to them! Let them sit in that faux metal sphere as long as it takes to get down and back up, and no toilet breaks either! And if you're feeling extra fancy, I'm sure an "emergency" de-ballasting could be simulated well enough with a few hydraulic jacks under the rig... ;)

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What goes up

I guess there's an issue with recovery too if something does go wrong. At least if your spacecraft breaks up, you can find bits of it when they hit the dust. But if something sinks, then it's just gone :(

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Facepalm

Re: What goes up

Can't say I would be caring either way….

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Sub sim

Having been in a sub simulator I can promise you that the computer screens in front of you are the most exciting things you are likely to see! Unless of course they simulate some kind of emergency (hitting an underwater container in this case, complete with a loud bang and lots of shaking), but you don't really want to do that in the real thing!

A 10 hour simulation of a trip undertaken by a real sub, complete with full camera feeds would probably do just as well, is a lot cheaper and a lot less uncomfortable.

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I think he might be expecting a big bill for Virgin Galactic to be honest.

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Mysteries of the deep

So, Branson has decided against plumbing the depths for profit.

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Re: Mysteries of the deep

Finally the taxi service ends.

If his idea of 'depths' is the same as his 'space' then we are better off all round that he's called it quits.

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Bah!

"The craft suffered a catastrophic failure"

After one of the pilots pulled the "NEVER USE" lever. Obviously the trick with these submarines will be to put a padlock on the "One-Way Express to Davy Jones's Locker" footpedal.

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Shame that a single stupid action of one test pilot can ruin so much in the way of future-thinking projects that actually would expand the horizons of our world. Anything hard is bound to have failures. its part of the learning process, not a reason to quit.

A lot of the posts here are poo-pooing Branson's efforts, yet I don't see anyone else actually pushing the envelope. I for one applaud Branson for at least daring to try.

No matter what the armchair experts here have to say, I think we need more philanthropic people like Branson pushing the boundaries, not less. The world is already too full of risk-allergic bean counters that only do things that offer immediate profits. New model Iphone anyone? its actually the same phone with different graphics so none of that risky "actual progress" stuff, just a new number on the box. Nice and safe profits to be had from marketing it to the sheeple though.

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4 JustNiz

Shame that a single stupid action of one test pilot can ruin so much in the way of future-thinking projects that actually would expand the horizons of our world.

Perhaps they are more interested in the "why" than simply allocating "stupid" to someone bright enough to have been selected as one of the pilots - presumably this was a more involved process than "tell Virgin why you want to be a spaceman in 47 words".

What was it about the flight that caused a pilot trained in the craft procedures to do what he did?

Because, you know, we need whatever it was fixed before someone else does it.

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Thumb Up

SPB could step into the breach

Beardy playmanuat mission to the deep?

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