Branson to Pilot Sub to Deepest Spots on Earth
Mogul plans journeys to bottom of earth in Virgin Oceanic Expeditions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2011 1:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson has turned his attention to the least known part of our planet: the ocean. Branson unveiled plans yesterday to send a deep-sea submarine to five of the deepest points on Earth, reports the Los Angeles Times. Fellow adventurer Chris Welsh will pilot the craft to the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, 36,200 feet under the sea, and Branson himself plans to pilot it to the Puerto Rico Trench (28,232 feet underwater).

"We'll discover a whole new world," Branson said. The goals of the Virgin Oceanic Expeditions project are to "educate the world about secrets" hidden in ocean depths, to discover new species, and to open the oceans to deep-sea tourism, in the same way he hopes his Virgin Galactic vision will expand space tourism, says Branson. "Great businesses can come from great challenges," he said. "We believe there are thousands of people who would like to experience oceans, and become aquanauts."