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 Mark Spear, a mechanical technician with the Alvin crew, prepares a transponder for dropping overboard. Transponders act as beacons to guide the submersible while exploring the seafloor. The hard yellow plastic case helps protect a glass ball, hydrophone, and computer panel inside.

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Ordinary Seaman Kevin Threadgold started his career as a mess attendant on oil tankers, then switched to the fast-paced world of copywriting for advertising agencies in Boston, New York and Seattle. In 1994 he joined the Atlantis crew, preferring a quieter life at sea.

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