National Geographic : 1958 May
what an aviator would call an in strument landing. This is the most critical moment of the dive; it is necessary to make contact with the bottom at very slow speed. There are two dangers to be avoided: mire, from which it would be very difficult to extricate F.N.R.S. 3, and a projecting rock, which would damage the machine. I must admit that landing on the bottom is always exciting. It is regaining contact with the ground; it also means reaching the destina tion, the goal! Vastness of a World Not Ours However accustomed one may be to these dives, he cannot help a certain feeling of distress during the descent through the envelop ing waters. Though the search lights illumine a small part of the liquid mass, one feels behind the black wall the immensity of the oceans, the vastness of this world which is not ours, where we cannot live. The occupants of the bathy scaphe play at being fish, perhaps, but they are not fish and never will be fish. The mere sight of land reassures the mind. Reason tells the diver, it is true, that it is more dangerous on the bottom at 6,000 feet than in mid-water at 3,000, that there is a longer way to go to regain the surface, the air, and the light. But at that moment I care nothing for reason and logic, for I see my "land," which is, after all, the element for which God created me. Dr. Harold E. Edgerton, Professor of Electrical Measurements at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, designed the bathy scaphe's electronic deep-sea cameras with the aid of research grants from the National Geographic Society. Here he prepares a timer and a camera similar to those used on F.N.R.S . 3. 721 Eel-like Halosaurus, its body faultlessly streamlined, hovers like a weather vane in the current, motionless except for undulating strokes of its whiplike tail. Caught by the bathyscaphe's flash lamps at 7,200 feet, it casts multiple shadows on the sea bottom.