One pioneer of deep-ocean research has now met with a watery fate. The Nereus robotic deep-sea vehicle was declared lost over the weekend, likely a victim of the massive stresses it was under during a daring ocean-trench dive.
Nereus was 6.2-miles deep into the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand when contact was lost. Emergency recovery protocols failed. Pieces of the craft were discovered floating on the ocean surface near the dive site, confirming a catastrophic failure. The team speculates that pressure as high as 16,000 pounds per square inch may have caused Nereus to implode.
The pioneering submersible was built by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2008 at a cost of $8 million. According to the institution, “Its mission was to undertake high-risk, high-reward research in the deepest, high-pressure parts of Earth’s ocean.” The risk may have ultimately won out, but the rewards were significant. Source