It looks more like a giant blue gumball than a vessel that revolutionized deep-sea research.

The bathysphere, as it is known, sits outside The Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium in Coney Island, on permanent display. Designed for two people, the ball of steel is a squat 4-foot-6-inches and weighs some 5,000 pounds. Oxygen was piped in through a cable from a barge above. Its windows are made of fused quartz. 

On Friday, the aquarium plans a one-night celebration of the bathysphere to mark the 80th anniversary of a record-setting, half-mile dive undertaken in the vessel by researchers William Beebe and Otis Barton on Aug. 15, 1934.

Until that remarkable voyage, no one had been recorded going to such depths in the ocean. It also opened the possibility of exploration of the alien deep sea.

In addition to an art show of reproductions of drawings of deep-sea creatures by the two researchers, visitors to the aquarium will have the rare opportunity to look inside the vessel itself.

The bathysphere was lowered into the ocean off Bermuda over a dozen times between 1930 and 1934.

“Nowhere have I felt so completely isolated in this bathysphere, in the blackness of ocean’s depths,” Beebe later wrote in his once-popular book, Half Mile Down.

If you go: "NYA @ Night" featuring food, beer, live DJ and night-time animal viewing at the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Coney Island fireworks viewing from the aquarium's Oceanview deck at 9:30 p.m.. Opening of "Drawn from the Depths" art exhibit on view through Sept. 1.