Robert Duane Ballard (June 30, 1942 - ) is an American undersea explorer, marine scientist, and US Naval officer who has been on over 65 underwater expeditions in submarines and deep diving submersibles. He found the Titanic and many other wrecks. Ballard has revolutionized undersea exploring by using remotely controlled submersible robotic devices (including Argo-Jason; Argo is a remotely controlled submersible vehicle with cameras, and Jason is carried in Argo and sent from it to collect samples and perform other functions). Ballard founded the JASON project and continues to explore the sea.
William Beebe (1877 - 1962) was an American naturalist and undersea explorer. In 1932, Beebe and Otis Barton descended 3,000 ft (914 m) in a bathysphere (a pressurized steel sphere invented by Beebe and Barton). They descended off the coast of Nonsuch Island, Bermuda, in the Atlantic Ocean. During the dive, they communicated with the surface via telephone. Beebe wrote many books detailing this and his other adventures around the world.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997) was a French undersea explorer, environmentalist, and innovator. In 1943, Cousteau and the French engineer Emile Gagnan invented the aqualung, a breathing apparatus that supplied oxygen to divers and allowed them to stay underwater for several hours. Cousteau traveled the world’s oceans in his research vessel “Calypso,” beginning in 1948. (Calypso was a converted 400-ton World War 2 minesweeper; it sank in 1996, after being hit by a barge in Singapore harbor). Cousteau’s popular TV series, films and many books [including “The Living Sea” (1963), and “World Without Sun” (1965)] exposed the public to the wonders of the sea.
Sylvia Alice Earle (August 30, 1935- ) is an undersea explorer, marine biologist (specializing in botany), and author. Earle has done pioneering work in studying ocean life, and she has helped develop the equipment necessary for underwater exploration. During 50 underwater expeditions and over 6,000 hours underwater, Earle has discovered many new marine species and set many diving records. In 1970, Earle led a team of five aquanauts (underwater explorers) who lived for 2 weeks (during which they experienced an underwater earthquake) in an underwater laboratory in a U.S. government project named “Tektite II.” She has discovered many underwater phemonena, including undersea dunes in the Atlantic Ocean off the Bahama Islands.
Jacques Ernest-Jean Piccard (1922- ) is a Swiss ocean explorer and scientist who was the first person to go to the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean. On January 23, 1960, he and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh descended over 35,802 feet or 7 miles (10,912 m) in a pressured bathyscape, called Trieste. They went to the bottom of the Challenger Deep of the Marianas Trench (200 miles southwest of Guam), the deepest place on Earth. The trip took five hours. The bathyscape was built by Piccard and his father, Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), a notable Belgian physicist and inventor.