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Jacques Piccard
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Explorer
    (July 28, 1922-November 1, 2008)
    Born in Brussels, Belgium
    Son of balloonist Auguste Piccard
    With his father, designed the bathyscaphe (deep-sea submersible) Trieste
    With US oceanographer Don Walsh, descended 7 miles (35,813 feet) to the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench (January 23, 1960)
    Designed the Ben Franklin PX-15 submersible which floated underwater for 30 days following the Gulf Stream from Florida to Nova Scotia (July-August, 1969)
    Wrote 'Seven Miles Down' (1961) and 'The Sun Beneath the Sea' (1971)
    Founded the Exploration Society of America
    His stay at the deepest part of the ocean was cut short at only 20 minutes when cracks developed in the Trieste's viewing windows.
    His reports of fish and shrimp in the Challenger Deep were disputed by other scientists who insisted such creatures could never survive the pressures.
    The Trieste lacked means for taking samples or photographs, so he produced little scientific data from its voyages.
    Ironically for an ocean explorer, he became a citizen of landlocked Switzerland.
    His discovery of living organisms at great depths led to a ban on dumping nuclear waste in ocean trenches.
    A modified version of the Trieste was used by the US Navy to locate the wreckage of two lost nuclear submarines, the Scorpion and Thresher.
    His Ben Franklin expedition was studied intensely by NASA to determine the effects of prolonged isolation on the crew.
    He continued diving into his 80s.

Credit: C. Fishel


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