The Five Deeps Expedition is led by Victor Vescovo, an American attempting to visit the five deepest areas of the ocean in a manned submersible. In December of 2018, he became the first human to reach the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean. Read on to learn more about this expedition, and keep an eye out for the results of the remaining four dives in 2019!
We Know Less About the Ocean Than We Know About the Moon
About 95% of Earth’s ocean remains unexplored, meaning that there are still many undiscovered species and poorly described ecosystems in the deep sea. These areas are difficult to explore because the equipment required must be able to withstand up to 1000 times the pressure we experience standing on the surface of the earth, and the required technology is very expensive.
The Five Deeps Expedition is funded and led by Victor Vescovo, an American private equity investor, who is attempting to dive to the five deepest areas of the ocean. No human has ever been to the bottom of the Java, Puerto Rico or South Sandwich trenches, and there have only been two successful expeditions to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Deep Dive 1: The Atlantic Ocean
In December of 2018, Victor Vescovo became the first human to reach the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean when his submersible reached a depth of 8,408 meters, or 27,585 feet at the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench. This means he dove nearly as deep as Mt. Everest is tall.
The next dive will take place in February at the deepest point in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica. This is the only area in the world with a “hadal zone” (deeper than 6000 feet) that is below zero degrees.
Why does this expedition matter?
Scientists have acknowledged that no agency could fund an expedition this expensive, so it is important that a private funder was so interested in visiting these deep ocean trenches. Along the way, this mission will create high resolution maps of the ocean floor using an advanced sonar system, which will be able to verify and correct previously documented depths. Up until now, even the most advanced deep ocean maps only showed features that were five kilometers or larger. More detailed maps of the seafloor will help with everything from looking for airplane wreckage to monitoring volcanic or seismic activity.
These dives will also be some of the first opportunities to examine extreme, unique ecosystems, and the team expects to learn a lot about the deep ocean. In fact, the lead scientist of the expedition reported that four new species were discovered on this initial dive alone. It will be exciting to see what they find next!
Want to learn more?
You can follow the expedition throughout the remaining four dives via their website and social media pages here:
Expedition website: https://fivedeeps.com/home/expedition/
Keep an eye out for future scientific breakthroughs that come as a result of this expedition!
*Featured image of green coral by Tom Fisk from Pexels