Alvin is a little three-man submarine commissioned for ocean exploration and launched in June of 1964. It is the only submarine shared by NOAA and the Navy -and it’s still going strong fifty years later!
The little sub has, as of the end of last year, taken 4,678 dives. It has spent 32,611 hours—more than 1,300 days—under the ocean's surface, with an average dive length of nearly seven hours. It has carried 14,025 humans, usually one pilot and two scientists per dive, to comb the ocean floor. It recovered a hydrogen bomb that was lost in the Mediterranean after a mid-air plane collision. It helped to discover previously unknown life forms congregating around hydrothermal vents off the Galapagos Islands. Most recently it helped to document the sub-surface effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Most famously it explored the wreckage of the Titanic.