At about 29,000 ft above sea level, the peak of Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth. Every year, hundreds of people scale its summit.
What is the deepest point on earth? The Challenger Deep, which is at nearly 36,000 ft below sea level within the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
Why are we talking about this? Last week, retired naval officer and businessman, Victor Vescovo, set a new deep-diving record, when he piloted his submarine to reach a depth of about 35,853 ft into the Pacific Ocean, surpassing previous records. With this dive, Vescovo has become the first person to have summited Mount Everest and been to the bottom of the ocean. He has also skied to both the North and South poles.
Previous deep dives: The first deep dive into the Mariana Trench was in 1960, when U.S. Navy Lieutenant, Don Walsh and Swiss engineer, Jacques Piccard explored this deep abyss. Almost 50 years later, film maker, James Cameron reached the bottom in 2012, thus making Vescovo the fourth person in the world to achieve this feat.
What is it like in the Challenger Deep? Icy cold, pitch-dark and with crushing pressures – the deepest part of the ocean is one of the most hostile places on the planet. Even with robotic vehicles, these challenges have made the ocean trenches one of the last frontiers for exploration on the planet.
Check this video out – by the BBC:
The Five Deeps expedition: The dive is part of Vescovo’s Five Deeps expedition – an attempt to explore the deepest points in each of the world’s five oceans. He has already conducted dives in the Atlantic, Indian and Southern oceans. Next he will dive the Molly Deep Trench in the Arctic Ocean in August.
What did he see at the bottom? Once thought to be remote and barren, the deep seas are teeming with life.
Vescovo spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his submersible, built to withstand the immense pressure of the deep. During his expedition, he discovered new species of crustaceans called amphipods. He also noticed arrowtooth eels, cusk eels with a transparent head, grenadier fish, a spoon worm and a pink snailfish. Unfortunately, he also found some man-made trash at the bottom, which may be plastic.
Written by: Chandni Shah. Chandni is a picture book collector, an educator and founder of Simplifly, a learning venture for children.