Like an underwater Iron Man, a diver will fly around the wreck of an ancient Greek ship later this year, looking to shed light on the Antikythera mechanism
Though designed for diving in the bowels of New York City’s water treatment plants, earlier this month it underwent its first trials in seawater at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. The tests are readying the suit for a daring attempt to excavate an ancient Roman shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in the Aegean Sea. A century ago, divers pulled the world’s oldest computer – the Antikythera mechanism – from the wreck. They are hoping that they will find a second device when they go down in September.
Marine archaeologists normally wear scuba gear to explore underwater sites in person, but the time that divers can spend at depth is limited by the dangers of decompression sickness, or the bends. For deep wrecks, researchers rely on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) carrying cameras and sonar to scan an area, or large and expensive craft like the Alvin submarine that explored the wreck of the Titanic in 1986.
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