Deepest undersea dive reveals depths of humanity's filth

Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

American explorer Victor Vescovo, who has already scaled Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, made history by reaching the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Explorer Victor Vescovo also discovered four new crustacean species in his descent 11 kilometres down into the deepest part of the ocean on the third Mariana Trench expedition since 1960.

First, Vescovo will dive to the second deepest trench in the Pacific, the Tonga Trench, he says there is a slim chance it could actually be deeper than the Mariana Trench.

In total, Mr Vescovo and his team made five dives to the bottom of the trench during the expedition.

Vescovo, a 53-year-old financier with a naval background, tells CNN Travel his journey to the depths was about testing the limits of human endeavor as much as scientific discovery. "As for the plastic, the team found a man-made object at the bottom of the Mariana Trench that resembles a bag, but it is hard to confirm it".

Vescovo dove in a submersible called the Limiting Factor, now the world's deepest-diving operational submarine.

During the April 28-May 5 expedition to the Mariana Trench, the team also completed a dive to the bottom of Sirena Deep, about 128 miles away from Challenger Deep.

US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard made the first dive to the bottom of the trench in 1960. Vescovo's recent dive broke the record for the deepest decent into the world's oceans, reaching a depth of 35,849 feet and beating the previous record by 36 feet.

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At almost seven miles deep, you could fit the whole of Mount Everest into it.

Next up is a trip to the bottom of the as-yet unexplored Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, due to be completed in August 2019.

"This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving - rapidly and repeatedly - into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean", he continued.

As well as several potential new species, Vescovo said he saw a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the deepest place on the planet.

While discovering plastic in the ocean's depths isn't new, scientists will now begin testing the creatures collected to see if they contain microplastics.

What's more shocking in the report is the epidemic proportions of plastic in the world's oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date.

Before now, the Five Deeps Expedition surveyed the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean, and the South Sandwich and Java Trenches in the Indian Ocean.

Among the discoveries made aboard the The Limiting Factor - the world's first titanium-hulled, two-person submersible to dive this far - were giant prawn-like amphipods and bottom-feeding sea cucumbers.

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