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Interview with Georgy Vinogradov

Georgy Vinogradov, a senior researcher for the Moscow-based Oceanology Institute, commented on the Russian Arctic research expedition, whose mission is to explore the ocean floor at the North Pole.

Russia Today: How long does it take to dive to a depth of more than 4,000 meters?

Georgy Vinogradov: The Mir vehicle’s average speed is 30 metres-a-minute, so it will take about two hours.

RT: What is the deepest mark the Mir vehicles can get to?

G.V.: The Mir vehicles were designed to work 6,000 metres underwater. They worked many times at more than 5,000 metres underwater so 4,000 is their effective depth.

RT: What scientific data is expected to be collected by the upcoming dive at the North Pole?

G.V.: During the dive they will take some biological samples, which are quite crucial and very interesting. This vast area is covered with ice. There is a scarcity of food for animals so animals are quite rare there. It is very difficult to collect animal samples from the vessel, while a diving vehicle can help catch them. Besides, it will take some elements of sediments, which are also very interesting and important to study. Just recently, scientists became aware of this very crucial data. Just imagine somebody exploring your city flying in the sky above the clouds, using a net. Not seeing the whole picture, he manages to hook two cars, a tree and a cat. But one day he gets below the clouds and is able to see the city with his own eyes. The difference is huge, isn’t it? Exploring the North Pole is vital given the growing importance of this area. It is our future. But now humanity has very little experience in working there, especially underwater. So solving this technological problem can be per se a scientific success.

RT: The dive in the submarine is often compared to traveling into space. What’s the resemblance there?

G.V.: The resemblance is that in both cases the technology allows men to penetrate a foreign environment and to work there. But of course there are some differences. For example, the difference of pressure inside and outside the vehicle – one atmosphere in space, compared to several hundred atmospheres underwater. On the other hand, astronauts suffer great gravity loads during the launch. There are some more differences but, of course, what’s common is that a man can penetrate a foreign environment and explore it with the help of the best modern technologies.