Simulating maneuvering through a narrow passage pic.twitter.com/2z01Ut3vxJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
If you’ve been under a rock, you may have missed the story about a Thai youth soccer team that was recently trapped in a cave in the jungles of northern Thailand. The story has enthralled the world. On June 24, the team was apparently taking a break from practice with its coach when the squad decided to explore the cave system. As they were in the caves, an onslaught of rain flooded the caverns leaving the 12 boys and 25-year-old coach stranded. They didn’t have contact with the outside world for at least a week.
Then, breakthroughs. Teams of divers from all parts of the world, along with Thai Navy seals, reached the boys and began rescue efforts. Currently, as of a few hours ago, four players and the coach are still trapped.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 8, 2018
Over the weekend, serial inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk of Tesla fame offered engineers from two of his other companies, Space X and The Boring Company, to help in the rescue. He also revealed a miniature submarine his team had been working on that was sent to Thailand to aid in the rescue. With oxygen levels in the cave falling and monsoon rains expected, time is extremely limited.
Using Twitter, Musk showed off the machine in a pool and said it was “a tiny, kid-size submarine (that would be) light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps.” He pointed out its features as well that include four handles in the front and four in the rear as well as four air-tank connections. It has the capability to maneuver through extremely narrow passageways.
The mini-sub could have applications beyond the current crisis in Thailand. It might also aid in numerous forms of ocean and freshwater rescue situations as well as have uses in a plethora of underwater research scenarios.