Who Needs a Submarine Now That We've Got the 'Exosuit'?

Cory Parks
By Cory Parks | March 4, 2014 | 11:31 AM EST

The American Museum of Natural History now has in its mitts a suit like those you see in movies. A contracting company J.F. White created the 530 pound suit that allows the pilot to dive to extreme depths in the ocean. It is known as the "Exosuit."

So what is it and how does it work? Think of a suit that doubles as a submarine. It looks like a cross between the suit from Armageddon and The Robot from Lost in Space, but don't let the look of it fool you. There is some serious tech at work here. According to the American Museum of Natural History:

"The Exosuit, the newest generation of atmospheric diving systems, keeps the pilot protected from the effects of pressure and will allow a trained pilot to perform delicate work at depths of up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) for hours. Together with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the Exosuit will provide new ways for scientists to observe, photograph, and collect marine life in areas that are otherwise difficult to explore."

The Exosuit can last at such depths for about 50 hours with enough oxygen and battery supply. A suit like this costs an estimated $600,000 and is designed for use studying invertebrates and luminescent fish at depths of the ocean where there is no light. The Exosuit does come equipped with four 1.6 horsepower thrusters for added mobility although they are not mandatory as the pilot will be able to maneuver with it quite easily because of its eighteen rotary joints.

Pilot Michael Lombardi, American Museum of Natural History Dive Safety Officer, will take the suit down off the coast of New England to study the chemical reactions of bioluminescent fish, this will be known as the Barlow Bluewater Expedition.