Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson announced on Tuesday, that he will explore the deepest parts of the ocean, in a single-person submarine. The Virgin Atlantic Founder says, that over the next two years the solo craft will travel to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic's Puerto Rico Trench and South Sandwich Trench, the Diamantina Trench in the Indian Ocean and the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean.
During the event, at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California, Branson
unveiled the submarine, a nearly 18-foot long, white-and-blue airplane-like craft with wings and a cockpit, that he said will be used to set new world records by exploring the five deepest parts of the world’s oceans. The carbon fiber and titanium craft will be capable of cruising for about 6.2 miles, and can stay down unaided for 24 hours. The sub and its accompanying catamaran cost an estimated $17 million. Branson also said he plans to create a larger submarine that can hold more people and offer trips to tourists for a fee.
Branson’s fellow explorer, Chris Welsh, plans to make the first descent later this year to the Mariana Trench, which at 36,000 feet is deeper than Mount Everest is high. Branson then plans to explore the 28,000-foot-deep Puerto Rico Trench. The Virgin Airlines founder said he will personally pilot the solo submarine to the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench. The Puerto Rico Trench is an oceanic trench located on the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Puerto Rico lies immediately to the south of the trench. The trench is 500 miles long and has a maximum depth of 28,232 feet , which is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean. Branson said, they hope to set as many as 30 Guinness World Records with the dives.
Branson said, his so-called Virgin Oceanic expedition will have a scientific and educational purpose. He hopes the voyages will help to educate the public about marine life and mankind’s impacts on the world’s oceans.
You can follow the deep ocean dives, they will be recorded and uploaded to Google Earth.
All the best to the Virgin Oceanic expedition, and safe travels to uncharted ocean depths!
Take a look at a video from the event: