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Aquanauts - heroes of oceanic exploration

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 13, 2009 08:23am | Post a Comment


Aquanauts - What Are They?

Aquanauts, as the name implies to anyone with even the most basic awareness of Latin and ancient Greek, are the oceanic equivalent of astronauts, cosmonauts, taikonauts and other nauts. However, there's more to being an aquanaut than wearing a blue blazer with gold buttons paired with white trousers. Nor are aquanauts mere scuba divers or snorkelers. Even donning a Breton sailor's shirt and Greek fisherman's cap, puttering around in a pressure-and-climate-controlled sub just makes you a submariner. If you want to be an aquanaut, you've got to get your hands wet. There's also an implication that you have to be indigenous to land because no one ever described a porpoise or a jellyfish as an aquanaut.

 

Famous, Real-Life Aquanauts

Although every documentary about the Earth's oceans points out how much more interesting the oceans are than space (and how we know less about it), aquanauts are never as famous as their spacegoing rivals. Whereas everyone knows the names of the first astronauts on the moon, who can name any of the crew who first descended the Marianas Trench? See if any of these "famous" aquanauts' names ring any diving bells:

Robert Stenuit, Bill Tolbert, Billie L. Coffman, George Dowling, Mike Meisky, Robert Sheats, Shorty Lyons and Wally Jenkins, Alina Szmant, Bill High, C. Lavett Smith, Chris Olstad, Harold Pratt, Ian Koblick, John Perry, Joseph MacInnis, Morgan Wells, Neil Monney, Phillip Sharkey, Richard Cooper, Robert Dill, Stephen Neudecker, Steven Miller, Sylvia Earle. Malcolm Scott Carpenter was both an aquanaut and and astronaut!

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