Richard Branson launches Virgin Oceanic: deep-sea exploring submarines


[ Video link | image: click for large]

Today, Sir Richard Branson, American sailor, pilot and explorer Chris Welsh, and submarine designer Graham Hawkes launched Virgin Oceanic, a project to explore "the last frontiers of our own Blue Planet: the very bottom of our seas." .

The project includes a partnership with Google: "Using their mapping technology, Google hopes to chronicle the dives as they happen and share discoveries, footage and record breaking achievements with the world."

Full launch announcement follows, along with more artist's conceptual images of the submarine and accompanying catamaran. Click each image for large.




"Virgin Oceanic will expand the reach of human exploration on our planet. By promoting and utilising new technology Virgin Oceanic will aid human kind's ability to explore our Oceans, assist science in understanding our eco system and raise awareness of the challenges facing our Oceans."  Sir Richard Branson April 2011  

Tuesday 5 April, Newport Beach, CA:  

Sir Richard Branson and explorer Chris Welsh today announced plans to take a solo piloted submarine to the deepest points in each of the world's five oceans - the first time such a feat has ever been attempted.   

More men have walked on the moon than have explored the depths of our planet - many more men.  Virgin Oceanic will see the world's only submarine capable of taking a human being to such extreme depths make five dives over a two-year period, set up to 30 Guinness World Records and, by working with leading scientific institutions, open the eyes of the world to what lies in vast areas of the oceans for the first time in history. The Virgin Oceanic Submarine and her pilots will travel deeper and explore further than any one in history.

Each dive will be piloted by different commanders with Chris Welsh diving to the Mariana Trench (36,201ft) with Sir Richard as back up pilot, and Sir Richard piloting to the Puerto Rico Trench (28,232ft) - the deepest trench in the Atlantic, which has never been explored before - with Chris Welsh acting as back up.  The Virgin Oceanic sub has the ability to 'fly' underwater for 10km at depth on each of the five dives and to fully explore this unknown environment. 

Five Dives, Five Oceans, Two Years, One Epic Adventure
Mariana Trench                   Pacific Ocean                        11,033m     36,201ft
Puerto Rico Trench             Atlantic Ocean                         8,605m      28,232ft
Diamantina Trench             Indian Ocean                           8,047m      26,401ft
South Sandwich Trench      Southern Ocean                      7,235m      23,737ft
Molloy Deep                        Arctic Ocean                           5,608m      18,399ft

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe that the deepest point of the Mariana Trench is 36,201ft - a depth not yet reached by humankind. Some experts believe that it will be impossible to reach a depth much below the current record of 35,911ft (set by a submersible that didn't have the capability to manoeuvre or explore) because of millions of year's worth of biological 'soup' at the bottom of the trench.  They may well be correct but we simply don't know - with Virgin Oceanic's submarine's capability to explore at the bottom of the trench we aim to find out and, if possible, go deeper.  The Puerto Rican trench is the deepest point in the Atlantic and no one has attempted to explore it before now.  

The Virgin Oceanic submarine represents a transformational technological advance in submarine economics and performance. The submarine provides the currently unequalled capability to take humans to any depth in the oceans and to truly explore. It utilises the latest in composite technology and a completely unique flying wing to literally fly within the Ocean environment; creatures living here such as dolphins, whales and rays have shown us this winged approach is the best and most elegant way to range the seas. The submarine is many times less expensive to manufacture and operate than any of its less capable counterparts and is in harmony with its environment.

The submarine was originally commissioned by Sir Richard's close friend and fellow adventurer Steve Fossett who had intended to complete the first solo dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench. Sir Richard intends to finish what his friend started and then go on to help explore and unlock the wonders of the Oceans still unknown to humankind or science. 

Sir Richard Branson on the launch of Virgin Oceanic:  "What if I were to tell you about a planet, inhabited by 'intelligent' beings that had, in the 21st Century, physically explored 0% of its deepest points and mapped only 3% of its oceans by unmanned craft, when 70% of that planet's surface was made up of water.  Then I tried to convince you that only 10% of the life forms inhabiting that unknown world, are known to those on the surface - you'd think I'd fallen asleep watching the latest sci-fi blockbuster!  Then you discover that planet is Earth...   

With space long ago reached by man, and commercial spaceflight tantalisingly close, the last great challenge for humans is to reach and explore the depths of our planet's oceans.  The submarine will travel to the deepest trenches in our oceans and will allow its pilot not only to reach these depths but to explore for 10 kilometres on each of the dives.

Virgin Oceanic is working with some of the most eminent scientific institutions in the world to collate data and catalogue life forms that will never have been seen before by human eyes and are unknown to science. The ability to go deep and then explore has been a dream of these great Oceanic Institutes - that dream is now close to becoming reality.     

We are also proud to be partnering with Google.  Using their mapping technology, Google hopes to chronicle the dives as they happen and share discoveries, footage and record breaking achievements with the world.

We may well set a few Guinness World Records while we're at it - up to 30 I believe!  Each dive will be the world's first solo dive to the bottom of the five deepest trenches in the world.  So there's 5 just to start with!  We will discover a whole new world.  A world full of undiscovered species and for those who dream, a world where Spanish galleons have lain unplundered for centuries!"

Chris Welsh:
Sir Richard Branson's partner in the venture and Virgin Oceanic's chief pilot is Chris Welsh, an American sailor, pilot and explorer: "The submarine is a unique design made from 8,000 pounds of carbon fibre and titanium. The pressure at the bottom of the deepest trench is 16,000 PSI or over 1,000 atmospheres - the quartz dome alone is under 13 million pounds of pressure, the weight of three space shuttles. No leak is tolerable; a leak would cut through stainless steel or human flesh and mean certain death. The depth is beyond the capabilities of any other craft, so rescue is impossible. It's like being on the dark side of the moon. Full pressure testing is to be carried out over the coming months and should it fail the mission will obviously have to be re-evaluated.

"Why go? Why not send a robot? Pictures of the top of Everest or, for that matter, the Moon are all interesting - but no substitute for actually going there!  The view from the sub is extraordinary, like a fighter pilot's view. This gives the ability to truly explore. The Virgin Oceanic sub is a game changer for undersea exploration - with the ability to venture anywhere in our Oceans, with a modest mother ship and a fraction of the resources normally needed to explore regions like this."

I've had a personal interest in the oceans and enough understanding of science to appreciate the chance this gives for oceanographers everywhere to learn, examine, and prove theories they have been working on for years. We can do this for them. We've created a unique program of going to all of the institutions and offering our capabilities for all to share. They've told us what to seek out, where to go, and what results will have the most value.  The HD video alone will add dramatically to the little knowledge of the deep that we have. It's exciting that the Virgin Oceanic Expedition will make this kind of difference."

About the Virgin Oceanic's Submarine:
Virgin Oceanic's Submarine, designed by Graham Hawkes, is the only piloted craft in existence that has 'full ocean depth' capability. The one person craft has an operating depth of 37,000ft (7 miles) and is capable of operating for 24hrs unaided. Once fully descended, the submarine's hydroplanes (the equivalent of wings for submarines) and thrusters will allow it to 'fly' up to 10km over the ocean floor whilst collecting video and data, something submersibles could only dream of.  

At these depths, each individual part of the sub must be able to withstand enormous pressures, 1500 times that of an aeroplane, and protect its pilot from the extreme conditions just inches away. As Sir Richard and Chris each pilot the sub to the bottom of our planet, they will be aware that should anything go wrong, there is no rescue team that can reach them; whilst backed up by a mission crew, once at depth, the pilot and craft are alone.

Full pressure testing will be conducted over the next three months. 

The craft will cruise at a max of 3 knots and can dive 350ft per minute, with a dive to the bottom of the Mariana trench and back estimated to take five hours.

Scientific understanding:
As well as offering the chance for human endeavour and exploration, the Virgin Oceanic Expedition offers an unprecedented opportunity to conduct scientific research and to expand our knowledge of the unique conditions, ecosystems and geology that exist at the bottom of the oceans.

Virgin Oceanic will be working with a range of internationally renowned scientists, researchers and institutions to offer monitoring, data and sample collecting opportunities during the five dives.

Tony Haymet who has been Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, and Dean of the Graduate School of Marine Sciences at University of California, San Diego, since September 2006. Scripps will be one of VOE's key science advisers. Tony says:  "It is high time that the ocean community return to the exploration of the ocean depths and the abyssal plains, the largest ecosystem on our planet.  Scripps Oceanography looks forward to working with all the ocean community to marry our new generation of robotic ocean explorers with exciting new emerging technologies that will restart regular deep ocean exploration. We honor Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh by continuing the exploration they started at the Mariana Trench on January 23, 1960."

Another member of the team is Dr Katrina Edwards, the director of the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr Edwards' work is primarily focused on geomicrobiology and microbal life; the study of how, and what type, of life survives and thrives in sediments and rocks at the bottom of the ocean.

Dr. Edwards commented on the opportunities Virgin Oceanic provides: "From the scientific perspective, my view is that this endeavour offers the opportunity to observe and make measurements in an environment that is otherwise not accessible to human exploration.  This expedition offers a lens into microbial and other species' diversity at depth in our oceans, the most poorly accessible habitat on earth."  

Further researchers and scientific partners involved in the Virgin Oceanic Expedition include:

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego - Microbiologist Dr Doug Bartlett is hunting for novel microbes and DNA present in the deep trenches and deep sea engineer Kevin Hardy is designing the lander vehicles that will help sample and bring back the microbes, water and possibly other small creatures from the depths. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) / University of Alaska, Moss Landing Marine Labs and University of Hawaii - Dr Geoff Wheat, Dr Sam Hulme and Dr Patricia Fryer respectively studying how tectonic plates interact through examining the rocks, mud flows, gases and liquids that are released on the floor of the trenches. Ocean Research and Conservation Association - Senior Scientist and MacArthur Fellow Dr Edith Widder, a specialist in bioluminescence (the light produced by many ocean organisms) and novel ways to quantify and observe this activity unobtrusively.

The Future:
Virgin believes that the Oceans offer exciting possibilities for human exploration and scientific research.  Our vision through Virgin Oceanic is to explore the possibilities of enabling adventurers and pioneers to participate in oceanic exploration.  

If we are successful in our mission with this innovative design of submarine, then we will have proven that a vehicle can be built to withstand the extreme pressures of the oceans and that it is possible to take humans at far reduced risks to the bottom of our Oceans. The submarine we unveil today will likely finish its days on display in a museum here in the US but if we can prove the design, Virgin may explore the possibility of future missions involving other submarines that can collect samples and operate tools or equipment to facilitate science and research. When we have developed the ability to explore, we will shortly afterwards require the ability to study, learn and innovate, reacting to the lessons and the opportunities that we discover in vast areas of our planet that we currently have no knowledge of. This is our vision.

About Virgin Oceanic's partnership with Google 
"Our mission for Google Earth is to create an interactive virtual globe and enable users to visit places they've never explored, including the world's oceans," said John Hanke, Vice President of Product Management at Google. "More than 70% of the planet's surface is made up of water, yet only 5% of the world's ocean has been explored. We're excited to support Virgin Oceanic's plans to travel to parts of the planet where no one has gone before and be able to share their discoveries using Google Maps and Google Earth."

About Virgin Oceanic:
Virgin Oceanic was formed by the Virgin Group to act as a sponsor of and partner on the Five Dives Expedition.  Chris Welsh, though his company Deep Sub LLC, owns and will operate the submarine.  The expedition will require various regulatory approvals, including export licenses, which Deep Sub LLC will obtain.

About Graham Hawkes sub designer:
Graham Hawkes, has designed and built over sixty manned submersibles and over 350 Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Hawkes is known for his forward-thinking solutions and his innovative use of materials and systems. His underwater vehicles include the innovative Atmospheric Diving Suits (ADS) and ROVs, which dominated the offshore oil industry segment in the 1970s; the Deep Rover series for science and exploration, most recently used by filmmaker, James Cameron in the IMAX film, "Aliens of the Deep;" the Deep Flight series of submersibles; and the design/build of the experimental protoype DeepFlight Challenger, the only full ocean depth manned vehicle. He is recognized world-wide as a pioneer in innovating state of the art solutions for ocean access.

Key dates and timings:
Virgin Oceanic's first dive will be to the Mariana Trench later in 2011, and a further four dives are scheduled over the next 24 months, subject to receipt of all required regulatory approvals.




  1. Eh, google’s involved?

    I guarantee the dolphins are going to be up in arms (fins?) over google harvesting access points along the ocean trenches. Lawsuits are inevitable..

  2. Gotta love that the poster / info-graphic has not 1, but 2 references to Deepwater Horizon (max operational water depth @ 8K, max drill depth @ 32K)…

    Kudos to Virgin Oceanic graphics team!

  3. With the resources of Virgin Galactic behind them it’s only a matter of time now until they offer tours beneath the frozen oceans of Europa.

  4. i volunteer to be the first to go into space and descend to the bottom of the ocean, all within 24 hours.

  5. I can’t find them right now, but there are some fantastic shots from the M/V Falcon, (that awesome sailing ship that looks like it should have belonged to Darth Vader) of the yachts private submersibles which look a lot like these subs, sailing around beneath the waves with their running lights on looking for all the world like star fighters……G-d what an awesome time to have unlimited funds!!

  6. That canopy must be hella thick; the Alvin uses four inches of titanium to keep the water from squishing its occupants, in the strongest shape possible, a sphere. Are transparent materials anywhere close to duplicating metals’ toughness? Or are they going to fill the cockpit and pilot up with perfluorocarbons, Abyss-style?

    1. That was my first thought as well when I saw the depth. Cool as this looks, I don’t see any way they are going to get around making this thing spherical.

      Alvin’s titanium shell contracts under the pressure. The round windows are fitted in beveled holes, which allows them to float and accommodate the differential squishing. A pressure enclosure shown cannot reasonably do that.

      Carbon fiber might allow wizardry beyond Alvin’s ability, but it still makes no sense to do an oblong shape just for cool looks.

      The *only* think I can think of is that this is so much smaller than Alvin and Trieste (only 1 person capacity) that the oblong shape can be as strong as a larger sphere.

    2. I recall reading that some types of glass can indeed withstand amazing pressure, the pressure actually preventing/repairing micro-fractures that may try to occur. But I’m with you, the shape just doesn’t look optimal for 15,600 pounds per square inch (108 megaPascals). Spheres rule!

      1. I dont know if this has already been posted, I didnt want to read all the comments.
        The design of this vessel is rather old, it is engineered by Hawkes Ocean Technologies. On their Website is all the Info anyone could want.
        It was initially built for Steve Fosset, but he died before he could take it down to the mariana trench.
        The Form of the Glass shown in the Photos/Renderings is not the actual pressure hull, it is solely for hydrodynamic purposes.
        The real hull is made of acrylic glass and is a semi sphere atached to I guess a titanium cylinder.
        I think the secret is the size. Alvin, MIR and Shinkai are pretty large Vessels, while this one is made for just one person and a small pressure hull is a lot easier to build than a large one.

  7. This is so wonderfully outrageous… it sounds way too good to be true. A bit late for an April fool’s joke though, so I guess it’s real!

    For one, the submarine looks too “designed” to be real – if you look at other super-deep-diving submarines, it’s obvious they’re designed purely for function.

    I’m not really doubting them, it just seems so incredible. I guess I will believe it when I see it. I’ll bet the real thing won’t look very much like the artist renditions!

  8. “I’ve had a personal interest in the oceans and enough understanding of science to appreciate the chance this gives for oceanographers everywhere to learn, examine, and prove theories they have been working on for years. We can do this for them. We’ve created a unique program of going to all of the institutions and offering our capabilities for all to share. They’ve told us what to seek out, where to go, and what results will have the most value.”

    So, obviously the best qualified person on the planet for doing this stunt. Amazing what a gigantic pile of cash can buy, isn’t it?

  9. It looks like a USB stick with flippers. I worked for Virgin for 10 years. I had to sign a waver to never bad-mouth them, or IBM, or a bunch of other pr*cks.

    Virgin Galactic passengers = 0
    Virgin Galactic deaths = 3

    Just saying.

      1. Oh I’m sorry. Scaled Composites employees working under a Virgin Galactic contract on Virgin Galactic technology for Virgin Galactic. The honeybadger.

  10. I vote it fails pressure tests, they give excuses and push the date a couple of years citing safety.

    Sir Richard Branson and Peter Molyneux just need to get it over, couple up and settle down for the sake of all of us who can’t take the promises and disappointment.

  11. I love love deep, abyssal plain type stuff. Look for a book called “The Deep” for mind blowing aliens on our own planet.

    However – I have to question the engineering of that big ass bubble canopy for the Mariana Trench dive. Granted technology is much more advanced than the last, and only time we visited with the Trieste, but I personally would want robust of a vehicle as possible.

    Fun fact – in what has to be the deepest ‘oh shit’ moment in history, on the way down one of the Portals on the Trieste cracked.

    When they do go down, let me know if they find a 60s era radio. My dad chucked one overboard into the trench and I always had this fantasy of someone finding it someday.

  12. Supercar! How about Admiral Nelson of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” the submarine Seaview made possible from his riches got from inventing the transparent metal “X-tempered Herculite.” Yes, the infamous ‘transparent aluminum’ goes way back.


    Less fictional (only slightly less,) perhaps VO has reinvented N. Tesla’s transparent blimp material for a submarine hull, sheets of some sort of plasma-treated micro-laminate. If the lattice mismatch between thin layers puts the material under enormous internal stress, like super-hyper-mega-tempered glass, then dunking it in the depths off Guam is only a slight increase in pressure.

    Ah, or Viktalen, the hull and windows of Nazi flying saucers. :) The formula provided by aliens/psychics, of course (or more likely stolen from Tesla, along with detailed electrodynamic hover-disk plans.) Oops, lots of others have already speculated much more wildly:

  13. Interesting..I bet the final vehicle is a lot more utilitarian-looking and not nearly as plane-like.

  14. This crazy motherf’cker Branson believes he’s Captn Nemo. Of course he HAS to go down himself! Because he has “enough” understandig of science or so!

    But the best part is:

    “The submarine was originally commissioned by Sir Richard’s close friend and fellow adventurer Steve Fossett who had intended to complete the first solo dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench.”

    Wasn’t that the dude got lost a few years back while atempting to round the world or so?

    Whoooohoo! That sounds trustworthy!

  15. For all the doubters, you and just about everyone else has doubted Hawkes before. Guy knows his shit. Even if they have a hiccup or two, neither he nor Branson do things ‘just because’. They’re in it to win it.

  16. Also, having read up a bit about Hawkes designs in the past, this one-person craft is designed so that if the power cuts out and such, it’ll float back to the surface. Of course without power to scrub the air, you might be dead by the time you float back to the top anyway. One would hope they’d have that on a separate power system.

  17. Haters gonna hate. Branson is hot, his projects are sexy, and his visions push our world forward. I’m thankful to see that such a visionary has the funding, or means to obtain it, and the passion to see his dreams out.

  18. …when is someone going to tell Sir B that all the interesting things at the bottom of the sea will be _under_ the sub? It seems silly to spend all that money on X-tempered Herculite / Viktalen hyper-laminate only to stare up at 7 miles of saltwater.

    Perhaps it will do barrel rolls?

  19. The secret to this submarine’s success is that it will be made out of Congressman’s hides; these hides can withstand tremendous pressure (from the electorate) and keep their sponsors safe!

  20. I work in the underwater vehicle industry, and this design seems very odd.

    The pressures at these depths are INCREDIBLE. This has 2 main implications. First, any volume large enough to be occupied by humans must be spherical (for strength); I don’t know of any other shape that’s been tested successfully for that kind of pressure and has a hatch for people to get in and out. The fighter-jet-style canopy on this vehicle looks very suspect.

    The second implication of pressure is that ballast tanks are impractical for deep diving vehicles (the energy required to force water out of tanks, called “blowing”, is prohibitive; nevermind the issues of creating deep-rated plumbing in the first place). Because of this, deep-rated vehicles are made to be neutrally buoyant, and change their depth by driving up or down in the water column.

    At this point, you might be thinking “ok, this vehicle looks like it is doing exactly that — driving down to the bottom of the sea”. You’re right, but that’s impractical too. Deep-rated vehicles drive around once they’ve reached depth, but to get to the bottom and back is over 12 miles round trip — even further if you don’t go straight down and straight back up. That would require a HUGE bank of deep-rated batteries, which would be ridiculously heavy. Real deep-rated vehicles use 2 drop weights: 1 that’s jettisoned when they reach their target depth, and another that’s jettisoned when they come back up. Long story short (too late…) the promo video looks very suspect.

    There are 2 deep-rated vehicles that might illustrate where I’m coming from: Nereus (an unmanned vehicle that holds the depth record), and Trieste (a bathyscape that carries people down to depth).



    Both of these vehicles carry quite a lot of flotation to maintain neutral buoyancy despite their weight. For perspective, the little ball under Trieste is where the people sit, and all the rest is flotation.

    I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’m not convinced that Richard Branson suddenly solved every difficult problem facing underwater vehicle designers for the past 50 years.

  21. I’m a little baffled. The deepest point in the Mariana trench (indeed, in the world) is listed on wikipedia as 10,971 meteres. Branson’s mission is to go 11,033m. And the poster states that the stupid submarine car can go 11,277m down. So this thing is going to travel 300m into the earth’s crust? I mean, that sounds cool and everything but…

    1. Our ability to presicely measure how deep it is is limited. The Trieste went to the 10,971 mark. Maybe someone feels the number is of, or there is another sport believe to be 60m deeper. Or it’s the designer putting in the wrong numbers.

      The second number, 11,277m, is probably the number it is made to withstand. It’s rating as it were.

      I don’t quite understand the animosity here. Exploration like this should be celebrated.

  22. Can we all just agree that Branson is a real life Bond villain? How much do we really know about what he does behind closed doors with his white cat and tank full of live man-eating sharks?

  23. Who cares if they fail? Building this kind of excitement and attention to ocean exploration is long overdue. Scientists are constantly battling lack of resources and funding. If Richard Branson wants to throw his money and resources into such a great cause, why the doubt and animosity? He’s not stupid- if it looks like the sub can’t handle the pressure then he’s not going to get into it. The attention to adventurous ocean exploration just might get more people interested and finally get enough resources pointed toward overcoming the technological difficulties that have always held us back from deep-ocean research. Celebrate his audacity!

  24. Just a minor note on the chart. The AGSS 555 USS Dolphin (which I believe they are referring to when they cite “Deepest military sub”) has been retired from service and is no longer operational.

  25. I rarely, if ever, comment on a story but this deserves recognition!
    If others had so much bravery and curiosity all of these places would have been visited long ago. I also include space, everybody seems so afraid to be connected to a mission yet the cost of an adventure seems trivial and the rewards are so great.

    Three cheers for Richard Branson!!!

  26. Concur with Anon #43 regarding the criticality of spherical compartments for humans and other pressure-sensitive equipment; I strongly suspect that the “fighter” style canopy is actually a perfect ball of transparent material (whether Pure Crystallized Unobtanium or not, Zeus only knows) simply *nested* in a metal framework that makes it appear more traditionally aircraft-esque. Astronaut helmets are the same, if you think about it.

    Assuming it works, and isn’t merely the shiniest known way to crush meatbags into cubic centimeters — let us be clear: Richard Branson *is* That Guy Who Builds an Atomic Rocket/secret underwater city/moon base/flying house in every overwrought work of mid-century science fiction. And *that* . . . is the sort of 21st century I waited out the 80s for.

  27. I wonder what thought has gone into the effect the surface-intensity lights might have on marine life accustomed to zero or super minimal light intensity? Will it blind creatures? damage flora, microorganisms? I am not saying this is reason to prohibit the trip, but I am interested in the scientific thought process that weighs on this issue since this will be a change from the world as we know it near the surface.

    1. What an odd concern.

      Considering the dozens of deep water dives with lights and all, I have never heard of it harming marine life. While there is no light that deep, there is a ton of biolumenessense (sp).

  28. Cool. If he wants to rent it out later, I’d be interested in taking a tour of the bottom of Lake Michigan. Not quite as exciting as the trenches, but there’s bound to be lots of cool stuff down there.

  29. As a member of a netword of Enthusiasts that design and build recreational submarines, the Virgin venture is all the buzz and we are looking forward to the reports on this discovery adventure. Go for it Sir Richard, regards Lawrie Lyons (ref. Makepeace Island conversation)

  30. 1951 the trieste reached 35,800ft and allowing for errors in measurement maybe deeper, claiming “depths never reached by manking”maybe a sligh exageration?. this vesle is going 3.24% deeper than any manned submercible WOW 60 years of improvement in technology and materials and the trieste could carry 2 people not just one.

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