The fourth season of LOST finally begins tonight on ABC. Hoo-rah!
Deep-sea fans weathered all sorts of abuses last season after John Locke blew up the Others’ submarine “Galaga”, and Mikhail used a hand grenade to flood the Looking Glass. The Looking Glass is an underwater jamming station equipped with a “moon pool” staffed by two tough chicks willing to throw down for the facts.
We figured the best we can do here at DSN to enhance your entertainment tonight is to give you a few facts about our favorite plot drivers- submarines and moon pools.
The “Galaga” looks like a shallow water transport vessel. It’s pretty roomy inside, so its unlikely to withstand the pressures of the deep-sea. Most submarines don’t go very deep, actually. We talk a lot about the DSV Alvin, depth rated to 6000m, and the Johnson Sea Link submersible depth rated to 1000m because these are scientific research vessels designed to plumb the depths and retrieve samples. German U-boats were designed to barely exceed 200m, while American Seawolf class nuclear attack submarines have a reported test depth of 500m and an estimated collapse depth near 750m. This barely reaches the peak height of most seamounts around the world. Not that we can’t find an exception. The USS San Francisco collided with an “uncharted” seamount south of Guam in January of 2005.
You might remember the “moon pool” from movie The Abyss. The moon pool is a cinematographer’s dream. Underwater light bounces off the walls and makes every camera angle look good. That’s why all the action happens there. A moon pool is also a handy thing to have when you’re launching submarines, ROV’s, and scuba divers.
A moon pool in a boat provides a sheltered portal from the wind and wave energy that can buffet an ROV or submersible as its retrieved by crane. Launch and retrieval are typically the most dangerous parts of the diving process. A moon pool in a submerged facility like the Looking Glass (of LOST) or the Aquarius habitat (of real life) allow saturation divers an easy portal to enter and exit the base station. While the function of the moon pool in the Abyss was clear, the function of the moon pool in the Looking Glass remains to be seen. Perhaps tonight we’ll learn more.
Charlie dives down to the Looking Glass station. Image from the Lostpedia wiki.