A Hole in the Sea That Needed to Be Explored: Richard Branson’s Personal Quest in Unexplored Depths of a “Great Blue Hole”

Founder of Virgin Airlines Sir Richard Branson is no stranger to an expedition. He has been spearheading private space exploration for the past 15 years. In 2004 Branson and his colleague, Burt Rutan founded Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is a “spaceflight company within the Virgin Group, that is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions. Virgin Galactic plans to provide human orbital spaceflights as well.” Branson now is choosing to enter the depths of the ocean with another organization he founded called “Ocean Unite.” The depths of the ocean, are surprisingly less explored by humans than outer space. This exploration would be a special one, with the Roatan Institute of Deep-Sea Exploration (RIDE), and “Aquatica Submarines” joining the fun. So, Branson Brought along an honorable guest to top up the lineup; grandson of renowned explorer Jacques Cousteau, Docu-Filmmaker, and ocean activist Fabien Cousteau would lead the charge behind Sir Branson in a quest to the bottom of the “Big Blue Hole” of Belize. This team of super explorers used the most advanced marine technology in the world! How far deep did they go, and what did they find?

Source: Shutterstock

The Special Guest

Born October 2, 1967, to a family of world-famous expeditioners; Fabien Cousteau learned how to scuba dive for the first time on his fourth birthday! Fabien is the first-born grandson to renowned explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau whose famous ships “Calypso,” and “Alcyone” would frequent grandson Fabien’s visits very early on in his life. Considering his rich history, it makes perfect sense that Fabien today at 51 years of age, is a dedicated ocean conservationist, documentary filmmaker, and even an aquanaut.

Source: wikipedia.org

It makes even more sense that he would accompany as the special guest of Sir Richard Branson. Only one place in the ocean can bring these extortionary people together.

Not Your Average Barrier Reef

When Sailing through Belize in 1842 renowned evolutionist Charles Darwin, called the Belize Barrier Reef “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” Stretching from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and southwards to Honduras, the Belize Barrier Reef covers a vast chunk of the Mesoamerican Reef System which is the second largest such reef network on the planet.

Source: Shutterstock

At the center of the Belize Reef is a visibly unique dark indigo circle that stands out among the rest of the reef! What’s in there?

Dark Deep & Scary

Explorers are a strong class of their own. One of the main reason’s humans thought the earth was flat for so many century’s is attributed to the fear to go beyond where the eye can see! So, it’s plausible that most people would probably avoid a big blue hole in the ocean.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

But to explorers like Fabien & Branson, it’s like a magnet pulling them farther and farther into the depth of their mind. A couple of things to bear in mind, this hole is deep, but just how deep down does it go?

A Nice Way to Say Thank You

The Big Blue hole sits in easternmost part of the Belize Barrier Reef, in a part of the reef named lighthouse. The gap is 407 feet deep, and can fit not one, but two 747 jumbo jets inside it, with plenty of room left over too! Not too far down the hole, water pressure rises drastically and not even sunlight gets in. Divers are only able to go so far down the gap before the pressure becomes dangerous.

Source: livescience.com

Fabien Cousteau’s childhood was privileged and rich with excitement; his grandfather Jacques Cousteau once visited the blue hole in 1971. For Fabien, reaching its depths through modern technology is the perfect thank-you to his grandfather for the privileged life he can live today!

Leading the Fleet

Richard Branson is no stranger to exploring. The Queen proclaimed; “Sir,” has been an environmental philanthropist, and space explorationist for more than twenty years. In every quest he sets his eyes on, Branson takes along with him the people he thinks contributed the most to planet earth and shares the stage with them.

Photo by Prometheus72 / Shutterstock.com

In his fact-finding mission, Branson would explore the hole inside a custom submarine made by “Aquatica Submarines”; his Captain piloting the sub, would be no other than oceanographer Erika Bergman, and his first mate Fabien Cousteau, together they would dive down into depths so dense that they would crush an ordinary vertebrate into 1,000 pieces!

His Life’s Calling

In 2017, Richard Branson’s net worth was reported to be 5.1 billion dollars. One has to ponder the question, what do you do with all that money? Is there even any incentive to work when you’re that rich? Branson owns an island; if he wanted, he could live there for the rest of his life, and be waited on hand and foot! But money does not buy happiness, and when you are a self-made billionaire like Richard Branson, you need an occupation to keep you happy.

Photo by Prometheus72 / Shutterstock.com

Branson chose to take on Global warming, and in 2006 he donated a whopping sum of $3 billion to the cause! Since then he has spearheaded numerous projects that would showcase the fight against human-made climate change.

Media Involvement

The mission into the Blue Hole was one of a kind. Branson did not think he would find anything unusual in there, but he would nevertheless make an environmental statement as his team was to go to the very bottom of the deepest aquatic sinkhole in history!

Source: Shutterstock

The mission was marketed as high profile, and dubbed by Branson as “Planetary inner space” mission. Branson and his team partnered up with Discovery Channel, and with the cameras rolling, the group made their way into the unknown!

An Eerie Silence

Taking a submarine 407 feet underwater is no easy task. Even with the best technology in the world, the ocean is unforgiving, and at 407ft the pressure outside the cockpit is 176 psi. One mistake can spell tragedy for everyone inside. Richards team seems oddly calm in this picture, but that’s just the type of people they are. Exploring the oceans is just like exploring outer space, and they seem to feel right at home!

Source: bbc.com

The team wants to gather scientific data on marine aspects including water quality and bacterial activity, as well to attain high-resolution footage and a detailed plan of the Hole’s internal structure for the first time.

Before the Collapse

Between 800 and 1000 AD, the infamous Mayan civilization disappeared from planet earth. Scientists theorize, that deep inside the hole there is an oxygen-depleted layer that can offer vital clues on the environmental biomes that contributed to the fall of the Mayans.

Source: interestingengineering.com

Bergman told Endgadget: “We’ve heard that in the Blue Hole there is an anoxic layer near the bottom [and] things don’t degrade in anoxic areas so we could find preserved life.” Did they find what they were looking for?

Environmental Awareness

Planet Earth has been around for 5 billion years and counting, actually if you had a dollar for every year earth existed, you would be Richard Branson! But jokes aside, earth’s crust gives scientists a perfect example of how much we need to be aware of our climate.

Source: Shutterstock

The Great Blue Hole is a great showcasing on the effects of climate change. One hundred thousand years ago, it sat above sea level, and was a set of caves with limestone stalagmites and stalactites, in the last glacial period, these caves were flooded, and the limestone ceiling preserved to tell the story.

Quotes from the Team

At this point, we know that global warming is progressing at just an extraordinary pace and these places are under extraordinary threat. It’s invaluable because there is such a disconnect between people and the natural world. An expedition like this can help inspire people in a way that they couldn’t otherwise.

 

Source: Shutterstock

The big goal, the big objective is the sonar scans and then mapping the Blue Hole.” The Expedition involved multiple dives and used SONAR technology to map the trench. Source Engadget. It’s evident that diving into the blue will give clear insight into the disappearance of the Mayan culture, but the Mayan civilization it so distance in history, that it’s worth asking why it’s even relevant in 2019.

A Past That Guides the Present

Central America we know today is genetically irrelevant to the one that existed thousands of years ago. With that in mind, it is important to note that globalism is a relatively new concept. But the past three centuries of human society have been comparably global and stable, but is that good for the human race? It’s a fact that humans have evolved much more rapidly than any other species on the planet.

Source: Shutterstock

With this evolution comes a natural effect to our environment.

Past Successes

Just because societal success was a rarity before the industrial revolution, does not mean it did not exist, and to provide ourselves with a better future we have to dig deep into society’s that worked and then disappeared. Cultures like the Mayans, and the Romans, and the Greeks had a lot of good things going for them. For instance, the Romans had a sewer system that works! The ancient Greeks had broken precise boundaries that still guide physics, biology, and mathematics until this day!

Source: Shutterstock

The Mayans, in contrast, were a very modern, and unified culture as well, they had built pyramids with materials weighing tons, they were culinarily ahead of their time compared to even European nations, and they also had a very accurate understanding of the cosmos. One has to beg the question, why have these cultures not survived the test of time?

Leaving Us with Nothing

The Mayans like many cultures of their time both big and small had a misgiving that could have left them void of all historical legacy had it not been for human curiosity, and that’s literature. Humans today run on agreed-upon values, and rules of living that did not just pop out of nowhere. There was a time where communities would usually not grow past 100 members, life was mainly a tribal endeavor, and humans were not interested in unifying in mass like we do today.

Source: youtube.com

Before the biblical era, tribes would go to war with one another with the goal of making the other disappear. It’s not until biblical times that humans were able to unify ideas and concepts for profitable growth, but even that was not enough for more than just ideas to survive.

Ignorant Masses – Successful Transition

Religious literature may have contributed to human development, but it was not without a price. Language may have been prevalent in human nature, but ignorance of humans was too significant to ignore if you want to change the order of things for the greater good.

Source: wikipedia.org

Imagine if Moses came to Pharos and said, “I think you should let these people go because it’s the right thing to do,” or “I was brainstorming, and here are some ten commandments I think we should all live by” much like the Ancient Hebrews before them had unified with the help of divine right thus giving them a sense of worth and entitlement to their existence, but teaching them how to write themselves would have destroyed the idea.

Ignorance is Bliss

Ancient cultures reserved quickly understood that the power of divine right creates much more significant societal growth and economic expansion than the ladder. Religion was the treasure box of kings and emperors who were able to convince humans to fight a war by the thousands because it was the will of the creator who gave them worth and meaning. Literal education was reserved in almost all cultures of the time to the very few.

Source: kiwireport.com

The fear was if the masses can express their own interpretation of life, it would disrupt the growth of humanity and the new-found power of religious institutions. Mayan society was literately ignorant, with little more than a complicated script that only the most influential leaders of the community could decipher, and unlike the Romans or the Greeks, the Mayan culture was not able to adequately document their decline. Leaving scientists and archeologists digging through the dirt to find out what happened. So that we can cross-reference the fall of the Mayans with our society today.

What the Hole Can Teach Us

When a whole human culture gets wiped from history, it could only be one of only a few things that did it. The Mayans could have disappeared from war, diseases, or famine. That’s the simple answer. But because they didn’t tell us what happened, we need to examine the earth beneath us to understand which one it was. It could not have been war because Mayan structures still stand today.

Source: pri.org

For a long time, it was thought to be a disease that did the trick, but now scientists are saying it could have been drought caused famine. If that’s true then with the earth heating up again today, it’s imperative that scientists understand what the roadmap was to this famine so we can avoid the catastrophe from happening to us again. The deep blue hole would hold the clues to the past, and open clues to the future.

Fun Expectations – Grim Reality

Imagine how fun life would be if you can go into a deep blue sea knowing nothing about life. Imagination would run wild with ideas of what could be found in the abyss of the ocean, but this expedition would be finding facts of life, if a new species were found lurking the waters, it would have been great.

Source: Shutterstock

But it was proven highly implausible, and beyond the layers of hydrogen sulfide, the team came across carcass after carcass of crabs, conches, and other organisms that would have otherwise lived happily at these depths. This was not bad news for Branson, as he was there to save the planet not find a new animal in a hole.

Discovery in the Dark

The hydrogen sulfide layer is 300 feet deep, and once the team made it past, they were plunged into darkness. “You lose all of that Caribbean sunlight, and it just turns completely black, and it’s totally anoxic down there with absolutely no life,” explains Bergman.

Source: Shutterstock

To defeat the darkness the team used a high-resolution sonar. According to Bergman “You can be 20 or 30 meters away from a stalactite or a hunk of the wall and see it in every perfect detail, better than eyesight could even provide,” Luckily there was not much to see.

Well Kept

There could be nothing more pleasing for the team than to see that the hole was virtually empty of human-made waste, and according to Bergman, there was a minimal visible human impact. “There were basically two or three little pieces of plastic — and other than that, it was really, really clear,” says Bergman, spotlighting the work of the Belize Audubon Society, which helps protect the hole.

Source: belizeaudubon.org

Bergman goes on to say; “It’s neat that there are spaces on our planet — and most of them in the oceans — that is exactly the way they were thousands of years ago and will remain exactly the way they are thousands of years in the future.”

Drawing New Boundaries

Since the USSR launched the first human into space in 1961, there have been many space launches for all types of research that attributed bringing a human into space. Live video broadcasting of these missions has been around since even the late 70s. But for some reason, this excitement has not translated to oceanic exploration too. With the Big Blue Hole that all changes.

Source: Shutterstock

With the team live streaming the whole way down! “Drawing people into that — the way people are fascinated with astronauts — giving them a chance to relate that to deep ocean exploration, I think that’s done through the live interaction,” says Bergman. There would only be one unanswered question to their expedition.

Track Marks

Branson’s team found something at the bottom of the hole that left them with little more than questions and more speculation. Once the team reached the base, they came across track marks in the sand, that would mean that some kind of organism made it through the 300-foot layer of death and that something may have made past the oxygen-free zone.

Source: news-leader.com

What could it have been? Branson’s team was not going to dig deeper into the tracks as they were not there to find a new species, they were there to showcase climate change, and help turn the tides on the global fight against it.

Aquatic Climate Change

Richard Branson made it clear that his goal for the expedition was to learn new facts about climate change and its effects on aquatic life. Even if the man-made aspect of global warming is up for speculation across society. It is an unarguable truth that the earth is warming rapidly.

Source: Shutterstock

This rapid warming of the planet is already causing glaciers to melt in unprecedented levels meaning that the effects will not just change the air we breathe or the ground we walk on, but it will also affect the waters around us.

Aquatic Benefits to Man-Kind

The ocean around us is actually where the first signs of human life can be recorded. With microscopic organisms that were able to live on the oxygen in the water. As piles of earth crust started to cool, these small organisms began to thrive and evolve into the planet we know today. Humans benefit greatly from the ocean, today we get drinking water, irrigation, fishery and well needed recreational benefits from the aquatic world. Also, marine ecosystems are essential to biodiversity, and ecological productivity.

Source: Shutterstock

Here are some plain old facts that humanity needs to consider going into the future. Attributed by authors; Drs. N. LeRoy Poff, Mark Brinson, and John Day, Jr. find, in their report “Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Climate Change”

Water Temperatures

Increase in water temperature is a fundamental attribute when considering climate change. The quote below says it all.

Source: quora.com

“Increases in water temperatures as a result of climate change will alter fundamental ecological processes and the geographic distribution of aquatic species. Such impacts may be ameliorated if species attempt to adapt by migrating to suitable habitat. However, human alteration of potential migratory corridors may limit the ability of species to relocate, increasing the likelihood of species extinction and loss of biodiversity.”

Seasonal Changes

The quote below addresses the effects of seasonal changes due to climate change. Anything from salmon swimming upstream, to wale feeding plankton can be affected.

Source: epa.gov

“Changes in seasonal patterns of precipitation and runoff will alter hydrologic characteristics of aquatic systems, affecting species composition and ecosystem productivity. Populations of aquatic organisms are sensitive to changes in the frequency, duration, and timing of extreme precipitation events, such as floods or droughts. Changes in the seasonal timing of snowmelt will alter stream flows, potentially interfering with the reproduction of many aquatic species.”

Wet Lands

“Climate change is likely to further stress sensitive freshwater and coastal wetlands, which are already adversely affected by a variety of other human impacts, such as altered flow regimes and deterioration of water quality.

Source: phys.org

Wetlands are a critical habitat for many species that are poorly adapted for other environmental conditions and serve as important components of coastal and marine fisheries.” Low lying wetlands hold an abundance of species that rely on one another to survive; they all share codependency with water temperatures and sea levels.

What Needs to be Done

“Aquatic ecosystems have a limited ability to adapt to climate change. Reducing the likelihood of significant impacts to these systems will be critically dependent on human activities that reduce other sources of ecosystem stress and enhance adaptive capacity. These include maintaining riparian forests, reducing nutrient loading, restoring damaged ecosystems, minimizing groundwater withdrawal, and strategically placing any new reservoirs to minimize adverse effects.”

Source: sciencing.com

According to the report, over the next 100 years, significant changes to temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States will be felt.

What Can be Done?

Climate change can sound very scary and is extremely serious. People like Richard Branson are integral in the effort to pivot climate change. Despite the philanthropic efforts, it can’t be done without the cooperation of every helping hand. If everyone takes responsibility, then there is still some hope.

Source: Shutterstock

It is proven in the past, that if society comes together in pursuit for the common good then the future brightens up as well. Below we have listed (BBC’s) ten simple things you can do to curb climate change and improve our future.

Check Your Fossil Intake

“The number one goal? Limiting the use of fossil fuels such as oil, carbon and natural gas and replacing them with renewable and cleaner sources of energy, all while increasing energy efficiency. “We need to cut CO2 emissions almost in half (45%) by the end of the next decade,” says Kimberly Nicholas, associate professor of sustainability science at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), in Sweden.

Source: sei.org

The road towards that transition includes daily decisions within your reach – like driving and flying less, switching to a ‘green’ energy provider and changing what you eat and buy.”

Industrial Influence

“Individuals need to exercise their rights both as citizens and as consumers, Robert and other experts say, putting pressure on their governments and on companies to make the system-wide changes that are needed. Another way, increasingly undertaken by universities, faith groups and recently even at a countrywide level, is to ‘divest’ funds out of polluting activities – such as avoiding stocks in fossil fuels, or banks that invest in high-emission industries.

Source: Shutterstock

By getting rid of financial instruments related to the fossil fuel industry, organizations can both take climate action and reap economic benefits.”

Let Go

“One 2017 study co-authored by Lund University’s Nicholas ranked 148 individual actions on climate change according to their impact. Going car-free was the number-one most effective action an individual could take (except not having kids – but more on that on that later). Cars are more polluting compared to other means of transportation like walking, biking or using public transport.

Source: retailmenot.com

In industrialized countries such as European nations, getting rid of your car can reduce 2.5 tons of CO2 – about one-fourth of the average yearly emissions (9.2 tons) contributed by each person in developed countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”

Renewable Energy Intake

“Renewables like wind and solar are becoming increasingly cheap across the world (although final costs are subject to local circumstances). The latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) found that several of the most commonly used renewables, like solar, geothermal, bioenergy, hydropower, and onshore wind, will be on par with or cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. Some are already more cost-effective.

Source: ec.europa.eu

The cost of utility-scale solar panels has fallen 73% since 2010, for example, making solar energy the cheapest source of electricity for many households in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In the UK, onshore wind and solar are competitive with gas and by 2025 will be the cheapest source of electricity generation.”

Curb Your Diet

“The meat industry contributes to global warming in three major ways. Firstly, cows’ burping from processing food releases lots of methane, a greenhouse gas. Secondly, we feed them with other potential sources of food, like maize and soy, which makes for a very inefficient process. And finally, they also require lots of water, fertilizers that can release greenhouse gases, and plenty of lands – some of which come from cleared forests, another source of carbon emission.

Source: Shutterstock

You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan to make a difference: cut down gradually and become a ‘flexitarian.’”

Fly Less

“Planes run on fossil fuels, and we haven’t figured out a scalable alternative. Although some early efforts to use solar panels to fly around the world have had success, we are still decades away from commercial flights running on solar energy.

Source: oilprice.com

There are groups of scientists and members of the public who have decided to give up flying or who fly less. Virtual meetings, holidaying in local destinations or using trains instead of planes all are ways to cut down.”

Shop Smart

“Everything we buy has a carbon footprint, either in the way it is produced or in how it is transported. For instance, the clothing sector represents around 3% of the world’s global production emissions of CO2, mostly because of the use of energy to produce attire. The hectic pace of fast fashion contributes to this figure as clothes are discarded or fall apart after short periods. International transport, including maritime and air shipping, also has an impact.

Source: Shutterstock

Groceries shipped from Chile and Australia to Europe, or the other way around, have more ‘food miles’ and usually a higher footprint than local produce.”

Kid Count?

“Having fewer children is the best way to reduce your contribution to climate change, with almost 60 tons of CO2 avoided per year. Richer people have higher emissions than people with less access to goods and services. So, if you choose to take this question into account, you have to remember that it’s not just about how many children you have – it’s where (and who) you are.

Photo by RikaSMChaniago / Shutterstock.com

Developed nations like the US and South Korea have higher national averages (16.5 tons and 11.5 tons per person, respectively) than developing countries like Pakistan and Philippines (around 1 ton each).”

Set an Example

“It’s not just you. Social scientists have found that when one person makes a sustainability-oriented decision, other people do too. Social scientists believe this occurs because we constantly evaluate what our peers are doing and we adjust our beliefs and actions accordingly. When people see their neighbors taking environmental action, like conserving energy, they infer that people like them also value sustainability and feel more compelled to act.

Source: actonalcohol.org.au

Community organizers trying to get people to install solar panels were 62% more successful in their efforts if they had panels in their house too.”

Contribute to “Green Projects”

“If you simply can’t make every change that’s needed, consider offsetting your emissions with a trusted green project – not a ‘get out of jail free card,’ but another resource in your toolbox to compensate that unavoidable flight or car trip. The UN Climate Convention keeps a portfolio of dozens of projects around the world you can contribute to. To find out how many emissions you need to ‘buy’ back, you can use its handy carbon footprint calculator.

Source: Shutterstock

Whether you are a coffee farmer in Colombia or a homeowner in California, climate change will have an impact on your life. But the opposite is also true: your actions will influence the planet for the coming decades – for better or for worse.”

This is not the only big undersea mission of 2019. Keep going if you want to find what was found in the lowest place in the ocean. A dive deep into the Mariana Trench!

May 14th

May 14th, 2019. A day that will stand historical for the rest of time! A day where man went to the deepest place in the ocean. The Mariana Trench! The dive was done in a unique submarine piloted by a man by the name of Victor Vescovo. Where exactly did Victor and his team dive? What did they find down there? More importantly, how deep down did they go?

Source: usatoday.com

Challenger Deep

The Mariana Trench runs along the western Pacific Ocean. It is the deepest underwater trench in the world. A dive this deep into the ocean involves some really complicated aspects to hurdle. The further you go down into the ocean, the less sunlight you’re going to have, and when you find out how deep Victor went, it will blow your mind!

Source: youtube.com

As Deep as It Can Get

Victor Vescovo Journeyed in multiple seven mile 10,927 meters, or 35,853 feet dives into the bottom of the Challenger Deep. Vescovo did not just set the record for the deepest solo dive in history, (previously broken by “Titanic” director James Cameron) he knocked it out of the park. Victors dive was so deep that it also set the record for the closest a man has ever been to the core of the earth.

Source: sciencemag.org

The Limiting Factor

Victor Vescovo set out on his voyage in a one-person submersible named “The Limiting Factor,” as part of a landmark odyssey being filmed by the Discovery Channel called the “Five Deeps Expedition.” The expedition, much like the Great Blue Hole, seeks to create awareness of marine wildlife and learn more about the ocean beneath us. The most unexplored frontier in the solar system.

Source: youtube.com

The Mission

The goal of the expedition is to conduct a detailed sonar mapping mission at the five deepest locations on earth’s oceans. One of these, being the Mariana Trench. The expedition has already completed surveys of the Atlantic Oceans “Puerto Rico Trench, as well as the “South Atlantic’s South Sandwich Trench,” and the “Java Trench” in the Indian Ocean.

Source: mixmag.net

Maps for the Future

A big reason to embark on such a dangerous undersea mission is to be able to map out with clear understanding what exactly is going on under the ocean, and you know, in case things get too hot on earth’s crust and we need to go deeper down! For better context, we provided a quote from CNN of the expedition’s chief scientist, Alan Jamieson. “So far, we’ve made up something like 150,000 square kilometers of deep-sea floor now — and we’re only halfway through it. Those maps, once we’ve processed them and cleaned them up, they will get put on online repositories, so they will be made available to anyone who wants to use them.”

Source: underthecblog.org

Looking Everywhere

One of the reasons Vescovo dived more than once, is because he and his team were desperate to find new discoveries in the Challenge Deep. “I crisscrossed all over the bottom looking for different wildlife, potentially unique geological formations or rocks, man-made objects, and yes, trying to see if there was an even deeper location than where the Trieste went all the way back in 1960.” So, what did he end up finding?

Source: insidehook.com

248 Minutes

The time it took to get to the bottom of the basin was four hours (248 minutes), making it the most extended period of time ever spent at the bottom of the ocean by an individual. The second dive down was a bit shorter at 217 minutes and was focused on an extensive exploration of the southern, rocky slope of the Deep. On the second dive though, the team ran into some trouble leading to a very unexpected heart-pounding rescue.

Source: researchgate.net

Dive Three

The third dive was an exceptional one, not because anything of immense value was yet found but because of something way more spectacular. As one of the scientific landers was stuck at the bottom, another submersible was sent down to retrieve it; thankfully it was an unmanned submersible that was stuck but never the less, it made the team break yet another record of deepest ever salvage operation in history. The Limiting factor would prove itself very useful and even become the first deep-sea submersible certified for commercial use!

Source: usatoday.com

Dive Four

On the fourth dive in the Limiting Factor, Victors team was tasked with the mission of video surveying of the trench, and collection of biological samples for scientific analysis with a significant focus of investigating the northern and southern edges of the subduction zones in the Challenger Deep.

Source: techtimes.com

Mt. Everest

Just so you get an idea of how deep the Mariana Trench just is, think of Mt. Everest the tallest place on earth. If you turned Everest upside down and submerged her into the trench, it would still not reach the bottom, and that’s what makes this trip so spectacular! On their dive under the ocean, the scientific team identified “at least” three new species of marine animals during their dive series, one of these included a species called the long-appendaged Amphipod. I bet you can’t make one of those your pet!

Source: com.au

Texas Pride

Victor Vescovo has been to the highest point on earth (Mt. Everest) before and took his Texas State flag with him on the voyage. Well, he didn’t stop there, and he took the same flag with him thirty-five thousand feet under the ocean making the Texas State flag the only flag in the world to be in both the highest and lowest places on earth.

Source: fineartamerica.com

A Sad Discovery

Not all news is great in this story of discovery though. In this expedition, there was no fairy tale ending. According to CNN, when the submarine was down at the bottom of the trench taking photos, they found a trash bag floating around at the bottom. Yes, you heard it right, deep in the lowest place on earth, there is trash floating around. A stoke reminder to mind our polluting instincts to keep our oceans clean.

Source: bbc.com

Conclusion

We live in a small world full of many fascinating things, and the Big Blue Hole is just one of them, philanthropists like Richard Branson have made it their life’s mission to do whatever they can to curb climate disruption and give us all a better future we can trust.

Source: Shutterstock

Stay tuned with us as this is only one of many expeditions Branson and others like him will be embarking in the foreseeable future! Don’t forget to do your part, and together let’s make this world a better place!