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Deep-Sea Explorer Went as Low as You Can Go in 5 Oceans

Vescovo is now considering a space mission
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2019 7:40 AM CDT
In this photo provided by Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel, Victor Vescovo steers the Limiting Factor submersible as it dives to the deepest known point in the Mariana Trench, May 1, 2019.   (Tamara Stubbs/Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel via AP)
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(Newser) – The Molloy Deep, 3.4 miles below the surface of the Arctic Ocean, has two things in common with the South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean: It's the deepest spot in that ocean, and Victor Vescovo is the only person who has ever been there. Vescovo, a 53-year-old private equity investor from Texas, has become the first person to visit the deepest spots in all five of the world's oceans; that includes the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on the planet, the BBC reports. His dives in the DSV Limiting Factor, a prototype deep-diving submersible launched from the DSSV Pressure Drop, also included a visit to the wreck of the Titanic. The team says the 10-month-long "Five Deeps Expedition" discovered at least 40 new species and collected bottom-water samples for scientific analysis.

The Five Deeps team also mapped tens of thousands of square miles of the ocean floor. Vescovo is now seeking a buyer for the DSV Limiting Factor, which he commissioned from Florida company Triton Submarines. The expedition involved a total of around 40 dives, but Triton Submarines president Patrick Lahey tells Popular Science that it's "built for thousands of dives over decades." Vescovo says the deep sea has long been "this big impenetrable mystery." But with the new vehicle, he says, "we feel like we have just created, validated, and opened a powerful door to discover and visit any place, any time, in the ocean—which is 90% unexplored." Vescovo—who has also skiied to both poles and summited the highest mountain on every continent—is now looking at his options for visiting space. (Read more oceanography stories.)

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