Rescue capsule which saved Chilean miners on show as Fénix 2 arrives at Science Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 10 February 2012
A photo of the circular steel cog inside an enormous capsule
The Science Museum has taken a capsule© Codelco
Fénix 2, the 460kg capsule built by the Chilean Navy to rescue 33 miners trapped underground at the San José mine in October 2010, is to go on display at the Science Museum in London.

Painted in the red, white and blue of the Chilean flag, the 3.9 metre steel saviour of the men, who were trapped at the bottom of a 700-metre deep shaft for 69 days, was built by engineers from the Chilean forces.

It was fitted with enough oxygen-enriched air for its 20-minute journey to the surface, as well as communication equipment and retractable wheels.

“It’s an icon of the unprecedented rescue mission of the 33 miners,” announced Katrina Nilsson, the museum’s Contemporary Science Manager, who said the venue was “honoured” to host the capsule.

“I’m sure we can all remember the moment when the first miner was pulled to the surface after being trapped for almost ten weeks.

“By showing the capsule at the museum, we hope to draw attention to the technical and engineering challenges that the rescue team tackled during this extraordinary operation.”

The capsule will be on show until May 13, accompanied by a “rescue robot” called Pinky in a special Search and Rescue event during half-term (February 14-16).

Pinky can climb terrains, search for victims and produce impromptu maps, aided by two pairs of flippers, a gripper, a head on a robotic arm and various sensors.

The experts who built it will be on hand to answer questions about the remote-controlled robot while it is in action.

More pictures:

A photo of a group of hard-hatted resue workers lowering a capsule down a mine
All of the men were rescued after being trapped for 69 days© Codelco
A photo of a South American in workwear looking at a large brown metal capsule
The technical side of the rescue involved hundreds of engineers, technicians and scientists© Codelco
A photo of a man in thick overalls working on an fire-carrying capsule in a warehouse
The steel capsule measures 54cm in width© Codelco
A photo of a group of people in hard hats and visibility jackets manouevering a capsule
It was fitted with an emergency release mechanism, allowing the miners to winch back down into the mine if the capsule got stuck© Gobierno de Chile
A photo of a man in a hard hat looking triumphant after being rescued from a mine
The miners survived longer underground than anyone on record© Gobierno de Chile
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