A group of marine archaeologists kicked off a mission this week to explore an ancient shipwreck at the bottom of the Aegean Sea — not with a sub, but with a semi-robotic metal diving suit that looks likes it was taken straight out of a James Bond movie.
Sponge divers first discovered the 2,000-year-old shipwreck off the Greek island Antikythera in 1900. They recovered fragments of bronze statues, corroded marble sculptures, gold jewelry and, most famously, the Antikythera mechanism, a clocklike astronomical calculator sometimes called the world’s oldest computer. Teams led by Jacques Cousteau pulled up more artifacts and even found human remains when they visited the wreck in the 1950s and 1970s.
But none of those previous expeditions had access to the Exosuit, a one-of-a-kind diving outfit that weighs 530 lbs. (240 kilograms), and can plunge to the extraordinary depths of 1,000 feet (305 meters) and stay underwater for hours without the diver being at risk of decompression sickness.