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Research Vessels: Submersibles - Trieste

The Trieste at sea.
The Trieste at sea. (Office of Naval Research photo)

Almost forty years ago, the Trieste and its two occupants, (then) U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard, journeyed to the bottom of Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest point known in the ocean. No one has been back since. Read Department of Defense and Department of the Navy press releases as Trieste continued to set and break its own records for deep-sea dives in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

January 8, 1958
During a series of dives off the coast of Naples, the Trieste, engaged in an ONR research program, makes some puzzling discoveries about sound properties and ocean life near the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.
August 23, 1958
The Trieste arrives in San Diego, California, after being purchased by ONR. Under a joint program by ONR and the Navy Electronics Laboratory, the Trieste will explore the ocean depths and be evaluated for its potential as a research tool and as a submarine rescue vessel.
October 5, 1959
The Trieste prepares to begin a three-month series of dives off the Marianas Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
November 16, 1959
The Trieste sets a world record by diving 18,600 feet in the Mariannas Trench.
January 8, 1960
The Trieste breaks its own record by diving 24,000 feet into the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
January 23, 1960
The Trieste breaks its own record again and sets an all-time depth record by diving to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. At 37,800 feet, the Challenger Deep is the deepest spot known in all the oceans.
February 1, 1960
The Navy celebrates the Trieste's all-time record-breaking dive.


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