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vent base alpha wired
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Welcome to Vent-Based Alpha: a permanent, manned outpost 5,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface. The deep-sea mining colony is the dream of Phil Nuytten, a renegade explorer whose widely used inventions include hard diving suits and submersibles that can descend thousands of feet while maintaining a single atmosphere of pressure. He'd upgrade both for use at the colony, where workers would mine "black smokers," chimneys that rise from volcanic vents or fissures in Earth's crust and belch out 700-degree water containing gold and other precious metals.

Vent-Based Alpha would be a completely self-sufficient facility - the structure's interior would be kept at surface pressure, ensuring no one is exposed to the bends, seizures, or other hazards that come with living underwater. "Essentially, it's like taking a cruise ship with several hundred people and parking it at the bottom of the ocean," Nuytten says. "After three or four generations, inhabitants would ask, Are there really people who live on the surface?"

Vehicles
The next generation of Nuytten's existing DeepWorker submersibles would be the colony's workhorses. The single-person subs feature a pair of extendible 7-foot arms that can lift objects weighing up to 150 pounds.

Food & water
Beyond catching fish, the colony would raise hydroponic crops. Carbon dioxide from the habitat would be pumped into the crop bin and oxygen pumped out. A desalinator would produce drinking water.

Energy & economy
Vent-Based Alpha gets its power by tapping 700-degree volcanic vents on the ocean floor - the superhot water drives thermal cycle engines to produce electricity. Meanwhile, miners collect precious metals and minerals that shoot up through the vent.

Diving suits
Miners would use Nuytten's Exosuit, already in beta-testing. The 22-jointed suit gives wearers up to 90 percent of their normal dexterity, so they can handle detail work under 1,500 pounds per square inch of pressure.



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http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/atlantis.html



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