See the computer animation of the sub below the water [1.3 mb] or ...

see the NR-1 moving on top of the water. [.4 mb].
All NR-1 images courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
  Plumbing the depths with your own nuclear sub
Tired of that cranky, leaky Boston Whaler? Fed up with that malfunctioning magnetometer (defined)? Need a better way to find shipwrecks? Well, haul yourself aboard the NR-1, a one-of-kind U.S. Navy nuclear sub that can get down to 800 meters, roll along the ocean floor on a pair of retractable wheels, and look around, so to speak, with sonars that can survey the sea floor and even probe beneath it.


The NR-1 can even find archeological treasure buried in mud.

For a cool $8,000 or so a day -- and the right connections -- the Navy will rent you this relic of the Cold War for scientific explorations, including underwater archeology. The NR-1, to date, has been used by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rutgers University, the University of Rhode Island, NASA, the National Geographic Society, the University of Georgia and the University of Connecticut to search for everything from methane seeps and lobsters (!) to wreckage of the space shuttle Challenger and the Britannic, sister to the "unsinkable" Titanic.

Equipped with three lighting systems consisting of 29 incandescent or thallium iodide lights, a closed-circuit television system, more than a dozen still and video cameras, computers, an object-recovery claw, sonars that can work in 11 modes, and powered by a compact nuclear reactor, the 44.4 meter-long NR-1 is a nautical archeologist's aquatic dream come true.


The sub can stay submerged for up to a month, allowing scientists to excavate around the clock, and its sonars can sweep out to nearly 7,000 meters on each side, giving it an ability to scour the ocean floor like no other ship.

This summer, the NR-1 will be working in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, looking for deep-water wrecks that may be better preserved than any yet found in the shallow waters usually explored by marine archeologists.

Shallow water is where you'll find The Why Files crew. All hands on deck!

The Why Files
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