Since 1961 humans have travelled to space to discover and explore the unknown. Millions has been invested in shooting up to the stars. But while this mechanical roar has been happening on the surface, the grand canyons and deep trenches of the underwater world have laid patiently waiting to be fully discovered.

Now that the general public appears to be becoming aware that the “mindless killing shark” phobia and Moby Dick-related deep sea panic is utter nonsense – they are becoming more inclined to invest more and more into exploring what lies below. Diving deeper than a diver could ever dare (or survive), the submersibles are the latest technology that every ocean enthusiast seems to be raving about, and are seen as the future of ocean exploration.

Cyclops 1 submersible

Looking like something out of Futurama, or an updated Thunderbird 4, OceanGate’s Cyclops 1 is the latest in submersible development. Features include an enhanced automated control system to monitor life support, ensuring the pilot and passengers on board have air for at least eight hours; expert navigation which can see objects up to 200 metres away, thanks to 2D sonar; and quality power management, making the vehicle more travel efficient. The vessel also has a top-notch critical system diagnostic – which heavily reduces the chance of any system failures below the waves, even at depths down to 500 metres.

Using a combination of commercial off-the-shelf technology and a state-of-the-art automated control system, it revolutionises how manned submersibles operate by reducing the time spent on vehicle control, meaning it has longer to achieve mission objectives, leading to safer expeditions.

Capacity: 5 persons (1 pilot, 4 passengers)

Max. depth: 500 metres

Speed: 2 knots underwater

Cyclops crew prepares to lift off of LARS to begin a dive.

Cyclops crew prepares to lift off of LARS to begin a dive

Super Falcon Mark II

Forget everything you know about submarines: the Super Falcon Mark II leverages the principles and dynamics of flight by incorporating a patented inverted winged design – it’s like a bobsleigh with wings. Connecting you to the blue space around you like never before, the submersible has incredible safety features; incorporating fixed positive buoyancy, with “auto return” to the surface providing unparalleled safety.

At 1800 kilograms and just under six metres in length, the Super Falcon is perfect for blue-blooded aristocrats and business tycoons, as it is able to fit on more yachts than any other submarine in the market, with little or no retrofit required.

Capacity: 2 persons (1 pilot, 1 passenger)

Max. depth: 120 metres

Speed: 6 knots underwater

Side view of the Super Falcon Mark II

Side view of the Super Falcon Mark II

Deepsea Challenger

Famous for escorting James Cameron to the bottom of the ocean – almost 11 kilometres to the depths of the Mariana Trench – the Deepsea Challenger is able to drop down to a location, and withstand conditions more extreme than on the moon. Enduring the crushing pressure of the ocean so many kilometres beneath the waves, in freezing water and perpetual darkness – this is one incredible vessel.

Features include mechanical arms, state-of-the-art cameras and landers, plus many more futuristic gadgets. Water vapour from the pilot’s breath and sweat condenses on the cold metal sphere of the vessel and drains to a space where it’s sucked into a plastic bag. In an emergency, the pilot can drink it.

Capacity: 1 person

Max. depth: 10.9 kilometres

Speed: 3 knots underwater

Submersible being lowered into water at Sydney harbour.

Submersible being lowered into water at Sydney Harbour

Trident underwater drone

Behold, the all-new, low-cost underwater consumer drone. Part of an ongoing mission to turn the average ocean experimenter into a marine scientist, the Trident underwater drone is simple enough to just “plug in and go,” and capable enough to use for scientific research and serious exploration.

Trident sends live video back to the surface by way of a thin, buoyant tether, and is controlled by a laptop, smartphone or tablet at the surface. Potential applications for Trident are numerous, including marine biology projects, dive site surveys, boat inspections, and underwater exploration.

Capacity: Unmanned

Max. depth: 100 metres

Speed: 2 knots underwater

The Trident underwater drone weighs less than 3kg, and is small enough to fit in a backpack or underneath an airplane seat.

The Trident underwater drone weighs less than 3kg and is small enough to fit in a backpack or underneath an aeroplane seat