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Phase I of Project Mohole involved drilling near Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Mexico, in spring of 1961. The ship used was a converted Navy barge that had been fitted with experimental deep-water drilling equipment and a dynamic positioning system invented for the occasion by Willard Bascom, oceanographer and project director. In April, the rig succeeded in drilling over 600 feet into the seafloor beneath nearly 12,000 feet of water -- approximately 30 times the then-existing drilling record.
Overhead view of CUSS I, the converted Navy Barge used for Project Mohole's deep-sea drilling tests in spring of 1961. (NSF photograph.)
Part of the 13,500 feet of specially-manufactured drill pipe, shown racked in 60-foot double lengths on deck of CUSS I. (NSF photograph.)
CUSS I crew lowering one of the six taut line submerged buoys used for dynamic positioning. The six buoys were lowered into a circular pattern at a depth of about 200 feet. The ship would then use sonar to position itself in the center of the circle. (NSF photograph.)