William Stone (caver)
William C. Stone (born December 7, 1952), known as Bill Stone, is an American engineer, caver and explorer, known for exploring deep caves, sometimes with autonomous underwater vehicles. He has participated in over 44 international expeditions and is President and CEO of Stone Aerospace.
Stone grew up in Pennsylvania. He was an active caver in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Outing Club while studying for a B.S. in Civil Engineering, awarded in 1974. In 1976, while studying engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, Stone took part in an expedition to the Sistema Huautla in Oaxaca, Mexico, where his group set a new penetration depth record of 2,624 feet (800 m).
After obtaining a Ph.D. in Engineering, Stone worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 1980–2004. While at the institute, Stone established the Construction Metrology and Automation Group. He led the group for seven years before stepping down to focus on projects at Stone Aerospace.
In 1998-1999, Stone directed an international group of explorers consisting of over 100 volunteers to participate in the Wakulla 2 Project. Upon securing a permit from the State of Florida the expedition began mapping the cave of Wakulla Springs, near Tallahassee, Florida.
Stone was the principal investigator for the NASA-funded DEPTHX project, which produced a highly advanced AUV to explore the world's deepest sinkholes. The success of that project was key in getting funding for the ENDURANCE project, with Professor Peter Doran of the University of Illinois at Chicago as its principal investigator. ENDURANCE completed two field seasons at Lake Bonney in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica in 2008 and 2009. Both projects served as a testing ground for developing a vehicle that can autonomously scour the seas of Jupiter's moon Europa for signs of microbial life.
One of Stone's caving expeditions (in the storied Sistema Huautla in Oaxaca, Mexico) is chronicled in his book, Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent Into the World's Most Treacherous Cave (2002), which he co-authored with Barbara am Ende and Monte Paulsen. Stone also figures prominently in James Tabor's book Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth (2010),  which discusses his contribution to extreme caving and summarizes many of Stone's caving expeditions, most notably those to Huautla and Cheve.
In December 1987 Bill Stone became known to the wider diving community when he demonstrated the MK1 model[clarification needed] rebreather at Wakulla Springs, Florida in a scuba dive which lasted 24 hours and used only half of the system's capacity.
Bill Stone gave a talk at TED 2007 about exploring the world's deepest caves and frontier space travel. In the talk, Stone pledges his devotion to lead a mining expedition to the moon "to mine ice thought to be trapped on the moon's southern pole at Shackleton Crater, and to sell derived products (including propellants and other consumables) on the moon and in low earth orbit (LEO) to international consumers."
- Burgess, Robert F. (1999). "Deep, Dark Desires". The Cave Divers. Locust Valley, New York: Aqua Quest Publications. pp. 100–106. ISBN 1-881652-11-4. LCCN 96-39661.
- "Stone Aerospace: History".
- "Cairn, the newsletter of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Outing Club, 1974, cover drawing by Stone".
- "MIT Inventor of the Week".
- Stone, William (2003-11-17). "The Shackleton Crater Expedition: A Lunar Commerce Mission in the Spirit of Lewis and Clark". Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Bill Stone, High-tech Explorer". National Geographic. May 1999. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Kakuk, Brian J. (1999). "The Wakulla 2 Project: Cutting Edge Diving Technology for Science and Exploration.". In: Hamilton RW, Pence DF, Kesling DE, eds. Assessment and Feasibility of Technical Diving Operations for Scientific Exploration. (American Academy of Underwater Sciences). Retrieved 2013-08-29.
- Vlahos, James (2007-02-01). "Robot Subs in Space". Popular Science. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- O'Brien, Jeffrey (December 2004), To Hell and Back, Wired Magazine, retrieved 12 July 2010
- Stone, William; am Ende, Barbara Anne; Paulsen, Monte (2002). Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent Into the World's Most Treacherous Cave. Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-52709-5.
- Tabor, James M. (2010). Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6767-1.
- The Cave Divers (Burgess), p. 122.
- "History of Scuba". Retrieved 2013-08-29.
- "Bill Stone: Explorer, inventor and outer space dreamer". Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- Video of Bill Stone's presentation at TED conference
- Video: Journey Towards The Center Of The Earth, Google TechTalk, July 2006
- Stone, William C (1987). "Design of fully redundant autonomous life support systems". In: Mitchell, CT (eds.) Diving for Science 86. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences Sixth Annual Scientific Diving Symposium. Held October 31 - November 3, 1986 in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. (American Academy of Underwater Sciences). Retrieved 2011-03-12.