UNDER-SEA TRACTOR-SPHERE ROAMS OCEAN FLOOR (Jan, 1935)
UNDER-SEA TRACTOR-SPHERE ROAMS OCEAN FLOOR
NEWEST of mechanical monsters intended for under-sea exploration is the tractor-sphere being designed by Otis Barton, builder of the bathysphere used by Dr. William Beebe in setting a new world’s diving record of 3028 feet.
The new invention, intended to be driven into the sea from the beach level under its own power, might be classed as a bathysphere mounted on caterpillar treads. Powerful electric motors operating from sealed-in storage batteries would move this undersea tractor over the rocky slopes and pinnacles of the ocean floor.
Under ordinary conditions there would be no contact with vessels at the surface as the tractor-sphere roamed about the ocean bottom. In case of emergencies such as engine failure a large buoy would be released, carrying airlines to the surface. Hoisting cables could then be slipped down the guide cables to the automatic chain-coupling devices on the sphere itself. Sphere, tractor, and all would then be hauled on board the ship for repairs.
Where oceanic explorations are to be made some distance from shore, ships would carry the tractor-sphere to the selected location, lower it to the bottom, then release the chains to permit unhampered exploration. Short wave radio would then keep the explorers in constant communication with those aboard the ship, and the buoy released with completion of the work.