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See the Exosuit This Weekend: 3/1 and 3/2

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The deep oceans are one of the most unexplored areas on the planet—and the Exosuit, a new-generation atmospheric dive suit, may help Museum researchers explore those mysterious depths. The only one of its kind, the Exosuit is on display at the Museum only through Wednesday, March 5, so don't miss your chance to see it this weekend.

How cool is the Exosuit? Let us count the ways. 

Exosuit in Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

© AMNH/R. Mickens

1. No need to decompress: It's an "atmospheric dive suit," meaning the person inside does not feel the greatly increased pressure of deep waters, nor does he or she need to decompress, as in SCUBA, while, or after, rising back to the surface. 

Exosuit Test Dive

Museum diving safety officer Mike Lombardi performs a test dive in the Exosuit.

Courtesy of J. Clark

2. It can take a person down about 1,000 feet. This July, about 100 miles off of the New England coast, a team led by Michael Lombardi, the Museum’s dive safety officer, and Vincent Pieribone, a researcher at the John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University and a research associate at the Museum, will use the Exosuit to investigate bioluminescent animals in depths up to 1,000 feet. This journey is part of the Stephen J. Barlow Bluewater Expedition, in partnership with the J.F. White Contracting Company.

Learn more in a recent Google+ Hangout on Air, below, with Dr. Pieribone and Curator John Sparks

3. The Exosuit is mobile: Foot pads on the suit's feet enable the pilot to manipulate thrusters to move right, left, up, down, forward, or back.

Exosuit foot pads

4. It's connected: a 1,000-foot fiber-optic tether keeps the pilot in communication with people at the surface. 

5. It's (somewhat) flexible: Though made of aluminum alloy, 18 rotary joints allow the person to move inside the suit. Hand-manipulators also allow for dexterity: after less than an hour of training-time, one diver was able to pick up a dime up off the floor of the training tank.


Watch a video to learn more about the Exosuit, and come see it on display in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, under the blue whale, through Wednesday, March 5. 

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