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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Virgin Oceanic Plans to Explore the Oceans Depths


Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Oceanic company announced their plans to go down to the furthest depths of the world oceans for, y’know, science and stuff.

Virgin is using a sub that was originally commissioned by Sir Richard’s friend and fellow adventurer Steve Fossett. Fossett had wanted to complete the first solo dive to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, which has only been visited by humans once before when two co-pilots (Don Walsh and Jacques Picard) made a brief touchdown in 1960.

Virgin Oceanic is not only planning to dive to the bottom of the Marians trench and call it a day. The company is planning dives over the next 2 years to the deepest parts of all the worlds oceans in an attempt to learn more about the ocean, which has always taken a second seat to space travel in the hearts, minds and pockets of most people and governments. Even Sir Richard conquered the challenge of space travel before going down this path.

The submarine itself is a pretty unique craft, designed by Graham Hawkes its made of 8,000 pounds of carbon fiber and titanium and ‘flies’ through the ocean with a style more akin to a dolphin or a whale than a deep diving vessel, which allows it to be cheaper and easier to pilot than the current submarines in the ocean. It has enough power to to stay out on missions for up to 24 hours unaided, which is good because the dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench alone is estimated to take 5 hours traveling at the subs 350ft per minuet dive speed.

The catamaran that houses the crew and submarine is gigantic, it’s sail is only 24 feet shorter than the top of the Statue of Liberty, it houses a 12 man crew (each has their own room), a small kitchen, a 8,000 pound crane (to lift the sub), the sub itself and the generators to power all it’s computer systems, lights and other electronic equipment.

I personally cant wait to see what they find on these dives, not just to the Mariana Trench but to all the other places as well, with all the capabilities in todays sensors, monitors and cameras, the mission will, at the very least give us pictures of new fish and other ocean fairing creatures we would otherwise never be able to see.

Source: Virgin

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