Series 1 – Challenger Deep Dives
The first dive series in the Ring of Fire Expedition not only set records, it also expanded our knowledge of the Earth and brought us closer to understanding its depths.
The brave individuals who joined Victor Vescovo for dives to the deepest point in the world’s oceans were former astronaut and NOAA administrator Dr. Kathy Sullivan, explorer Vanessa O’Brien, and explorer John Rost.
Thanks to Triton’s state-of-the-art, full-ocean-depth submersible, the DSV Limiting Factor, all dives were successful and safely made.
At over 10,000 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep is the deepest point in the world.
Before Victor Vescovo’s first descent to Challenger, only three other humans had visited Challenger Deep: Captain Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in 1960, and filmmaker James Cameron in 2012.
Utilizing the Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV), Limiting Factor, the once-esoteric depths of Challenger Deep can now be explored repeatedly and with relative ease.
MEET THE DIVERS
On June 6, Victor Vescovo was joined by former NASA astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, in Triton’s DSV Limiting Factor for a dive to Challenger Deep. The duo reached a calculated depth of 10,925 m/ 35,843 ft, setting a substantial new record for the deepest diving woman in world history.
A three-time astronaut and holder of a Ph.D. in ocean geology, Sullivan is a major force in the advancement of STEM education and plans to use her experience to educate and inspire children to chase their dreams. After their successful dive, Sullivan and Vescovo were able to have a conversation with astronauts who were onboard the International Space Station.
Vanessa O’Brien became the first dual citizen American/British woman, and the first woman, to both climb Mt. Everest and dive to Challenger Deep, a feat only accomplished by one other person in history: Victor Vescovo.
John Rost became the fourth American to dive Challenger Deep, and the third person to both climb Mt. Everest and dive to Challenger Deep. With Victor Vescovo, he also remained at the bottom of the Deep for the longest time in history during a single dive, at 4 hours, 7 minutes.
Mariana Trench Video Highlights
Kathy Sullivan, the first woman to walk in space and now the first woman to the bottom of the ocean
Following her record-breaking dive, Astronaught Kathy Sullivan and Submersible Pilot Victor Vescovo make a call to the International Space Station
Dives 51 + 52, with Vanessa O’Brien and John Rost
Interview with Vanessa O’Brien
Interview with John Rost
Caladan Oceanic also partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to map over 200,000 square kilometers of never-before-seen, deep ocean terrain as part of a new public-private partnership to map in detail the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States, its territories, and those of its allies.
The information will also be donated to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans’ (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 initiative to build a map of the entire ocean floor over the next ten years. Utilizing a state-of-the-art technology, the team was able to capture more detailed sonar data and video footage of the bottom than any other expedition has been able to before.