Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Mir Submersibles: a fascinating undersea history now in print

As a member of the Explorers Club, I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting many accomplished scientists and explorers covering a range of scientific disciplines, from oceanography to astrophysics. This past Friday, I attended the West Coast Annual Explorers Club Dinner and had the chance to meet Dr. Anatoly Sagalevich, the chief pilot and head of the Russian Deep Manned Submersible Laboratory, home of the Mir ("Peace") submersibles. He was being honored by the Explorers Club with their annual Ralph B. White Award for Oceanographic Exploration and Conservation of the Seas.

From discovery of deep ocean geothermal vents to sunken naval vessels, from multiple trips to the Titanic (including supporting director James Cameron in the filming of both Titanic and Ghosts of the Abyss) to a controversial planting of the Russian flag under the ice at the geographic north pole - for over 20 years the Russian submersibles Mir I and II have been dependable research platforms for scientific research organizations worldwide.

Now the exploits of these famous submersibles and their captain are available in print. The Deep: Voyages to Titanic and Beyond, written by Anatoly Sagalevich and Paul Isley III and available through, is a fascinating accounting of the Russian submersible program, beautifully illustrated and translated from Anatoly's original Russian edition.

Understanding the ocean's complexities and secrets is always fascinating. Understanding how this research is accomplished can be equally fascinating. A beautiful coffee table book, The Deep: Voyages to the Titanic and Beyond is a testament to man's need to explore and learn.

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