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How does a submarine dive and surface?

A submarine cruising at the surfaceA submarine cruising at the surfaceA submarine (or "sub") is a vessel that can travel under the water as well as on the surface. Most large submarines have a tube-shaped hull with a tower, called a conning tower, on top. There is a propeller at the rear end. Just like a plane, a submarine has a rudder, tailfin and tailplane. These can all be adjusted to control and steer the sub through the water. The crew can see above the surface of the water by using a periscope, which runs up through the conning tower.

Nuclear submarine

Nuclear submarine and submersibleNuclear submarine and submersible

Control room of a nuclear submarineControl room of a nuclear submarine

Most modern submarines are for military use and are powered by nuclear reactors. Water heated by the reactor drives a turbine, which turns the propellers. Nuclear submarines can stay submerged for months at a time. They can attack enemy ships with torpedoes. They can also fire missiles aimed at targets thousands of kilometres away, launching them high into the atmosphere.

The first submersible was built in 1620 by Dutch inventor Cornelius Drebbel. It was propelled underwater using oars.

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