Robotics Engineer; Expedition Leader; CEO of Stone Aerospace; Expert in Cave Exploration & Innovative Diving Technology
Bill Stone is a robotics engineer, inventor, and aerospace and cave explorer, known particularly for exploring ultra-deep caves, sometimes with autonomous robots. He has participated in over 80 international expeditions and has spent more than 10 years in the exploration field, including 815 days spent operating from remote underground camps as deep as 1,500 meters beneath the surface of the Earth, as well as a year in Antarctica on scientific and engineering missions.
In the spring of 2021, Stone led the 4-month National Geographic sponsored cave expedition to Cueva Cheve that established a record for the most remote place yet reached inside the Earth in a natural cavern, during which he was underground, without sunlight, for 29 straight days on the final push. NatGeo Explorer aired the 1-hour documentary film about the cave exploration on Disney+ and the National Geographic magazine will also feature the story.
His expeditions have been a litany of firsts when it comes to exploration technology. In 1981, the first use of composite ultra pressure diving systems. In 1984, the first underground camps beyond underwater tunnels. In 1987, the first extensive use of helium breathing mixtures for cave exploration diving, considered to be the start of the Technical Diving revolution. In 1994, the first use of electronic closed circuit diving systems for exploration diving. In 1999, the first 3D digital cave map and the first saturation cave diving. In 2007, robotic exploration and mapping of the world’s deepest hydrothermal spring. In 2008-2010, the first robotic Antarctic exploration of a sub-glacial lake. In 2015, the first autonomous underwater vehicle to explore under the McMurdo ice shelf. In 2019, the first fully autonomous exploration of a completely unknown place inside the Earth. And finally, in 2021, both the most remote underground camp ever established, and the longest continuous subterranean exploration push ever fielded.
Stone is CEO of Stone Aerospace, an organization focused on aerospace exploration that has pioneered novel robotic systems for exploration and life search on outer planet icy moons, including 4 generations of sub-ice autonomous underwater vehicles and three generations of “cryobots” (ice penetrating robots). The most advanced of these devices, Sunfish - an ultra-maneuverable autonomous underwater exploration vehicle - and Thor - a full scale nuclear power compatible cryobot, are the world’s leading contenders for the flight vehicle that will search for life in the subsurface ocean of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Holder of 32 issued patents and 8 patents-pending, Stone serves on the board of directors of five corporations. His Texas-based Shackleton Energy Company, or SEC, intends to raise $15 billion, the approximate cost of a North Sea oil production platform complex, 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.
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