Expedition aims to be first to reach the bottom of all five oceans

The submersible used by the 5 deeps expedition.

The submersible used by the 5 deeps expedition.

Parker Rhee, Reporter

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According to Popular Science Magazine, only 3% of the oceans have been explored. We know less about the oceans that make up 71% of our world’s surface than we do about the surface of Mars. Yet; only 3 people have ever been to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The deepest point in the world.

Victor Vescuvo likes to do the impossible. A private equity investor from Texas, he is one of only 66 people who have climbed the Seven Summits, which means he has climbed to the summit of all 7 of the highest mountains in the world. But after he finished, in 2017, he was itching for a new adventure. He came up with an idea: the inverse of the Seven Summits. He would take a submersible to the deepest point of every ocean in the world. He called it the 5 Deeps.

When Vescuvo first came up with this idea, he just wanted a new adventure. But very early into the project, he realized that this was an excellent opportunity to help advance scientific knowledge. Since he would be the first person to descend to many of these points, by adding on a few extra sensors, he would be able to collect an enormous amount of data that would greatly benefit scientists all over, learn more about our world. “I think it’s awesome. I think it will help us lean more about the world we live in,” said Mrs. Caitlin Pannel, Earth Science teacher. And so far, the expedition has generated enormous amounts of new information about the oceans.

By the time he dove to the bottom of the Java trench in the Indian Ocean, he had a passenger with him, scientist Alan Jamieson, who is an expert on ‘hadal zones’, the area of the ocean from 20,000 to 36,000 feet. Even though Jamieson has been studying this area of the ocean for well over a decade, this was the first time he had ever personally been to the hadal zone. This was not the only first for the expedition, and by extension, the entire scientific community. Over the course of the expedition, the 5 deeps team has discovered new species of snailfish and amphipods, a new underwater mountain chain, which Vescuvo and his team will be allowed to name, broke the records for the deepest dive and the deepest underwater salvage, confirmed the depth of the Puerto Rico trench, and discovered new depths for several of the trenches they dove in. Vescuvo and his crew mates are also the first people to have descend to the bottoms of the Puerto Rico, Java, and South Sandwich Trenches.

Of the 5 deeps, the expedition can cross four off of their list. The last dive for Vescuvo will be to the bottom of Arctic Ocean. This dive is planned for September 19, 2019. When he touches the bottom of the ocean there, he will be the first person to have descended to all 5 of the deepest points in the ocean, climbed to the top of all 7 of the highest summits, and skied to both poles. “My real dream is to orbit. I’ tempted to tweet to Elon [Musk], ‘I’ll give you a ride in mine if you give me a ride in yours, ‘” he said when asked by a reporter from Popular Science what he plans to do next.

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