Mariana Trench: Record-breaking journey to the bottom of the ocean

Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

However, he also made an unsettling discovery as he descended almost 6.8 miles to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth, seeing something he was not expecting to come across so deep beneath the surface - trash.

Vescovo, 53, spent four hours on May 1 exploring the bottom of the trench inside his submarine, known as DSV Limiting Factor, going deeper than any other solo expedition.

Humanity's impact on the planet was also evident with the discovery of plastic pollution.

Before Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made in 1960 by the U.S. Navy, which reached a depth of 10,912 metres. They found one 8,530 feet (2,600 m) below the surface, one 14,600 feet (4,450 m) and two at the deepest point they reached. (That's like having 50 jumbo jets piled on your head-so definitely don't step outside.) Built by the US-based company Triton Submarines, Limiting Factor was created to make multiple repeated dives to the deepest parts of the ocean.

After spending hours crisscrossing the bottom of the Challenger Deep, collecting video evidence of different wildlife, geological formations and man-made objects, Vescovo stopped for a second. "Victor Vescovo's imagination and fierce curiosity; Triton Submarines technical brilliance, and the outstanding performance of the officers and crew of mother ship Pressure Drop all converged to make this expedition a huge success".

"It is very important to us that we show some initial scientific discoveries, just to give a small sample of what we could do if the sub was in the hands of a professional research organization", he says. More worrisome was that Vescovo reported coming across a plastic bag and candy wrappers.

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For the fourth time, the Five Deeps Expedition has successfully dived to the bottom of one of the world's five oceans. Titanic director and frequent diver James Cameron set the previous record in 2012.

The American businessman descended 35,853 feet (10,928 meters) to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the world's oceans.

The Five Deeps Expedition is being filmed by Atlantic Productions for a five-part Discovery Channel documentary series due to air in late 2019.

After the Five Deeps expedition is complete later this year, the plan is to pass the submersible onto science institutions so researchers can continue to use it.

But Vescovo and his team are not stopping now, with another dive of the Horizon Deep within the Tonga Trench in the South Pacific Ocean coming up next.

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