Science

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer and Texas-based investor, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended almost 10,928 metres to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth.

He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.

They also discovered brightly coloured rocky outcrops, possibly created by microbes on the seabed, and collected samples of rock from the seafloor.

"So far, we've made up something like 150,000 square kilometers of deep sea floor now - and we're only halfway through it".

In among the prawn-like creatures, diver Victor Vescovo also found pollution.

Scientists have found large amounts of microplastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Mr Vescovo said after arriving in Guam after the completion of the dives. "This submarine and its mother ship. took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving-rapidly and repeatedly-into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean". Long before that, in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh together descended 35,813 feet into the Mariana Trench.

The team dove to the bottom of the Mariana Trench five times, BBC News reports.

Mr Vescovo's latest dive is part of the "Five Deeps expedition", where he is attempting to explore the deepest parts of all five oceans. Vescovo, a private equity investor, is funding the expeditions.

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The Five Deeps is the underwater equivalent of climbing the Seven Summits, which is reaching the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Before Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made by the US Navy in 1960, reaching a depth of 10,912 meters.

In 2012, movie director James Cameron made a solo trip into the Mariana Trench. Now, the 53-year-old Vescovo has reached 35,853 feet, according to the expedition.

Plastic waste has been discovered on a record-breaking dive to the depths of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

The final challenge will be to reach the bottom of the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, which is now scheduled for August 2019.

Until now, only two people have successfully made it to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the planet's deepest point at the southern end of the Mariana Trench.

The extreme pressure and darkness make it extremely challenging to travel deep beneath the sea and capture images. According to the BBC, the pressure at the bottom of the ocean is equal to about 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person.

His voyage, in a submersible named The Limiting Factor, is part of a landmark odyssey into the world's watery depths that's being filmed for Discovery Channel - dubbed the Five Deeps Expedition.



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