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British business tycoon to explore oceans' deepest parts

04-07-2011 09:03 BJT

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He's been to the giddying heights of the Earth's atmosphere, and now it appears as though British business tycoon Sir Richard Branson is about to scrape the bottom of the world.

He's announced plans, to dive to the deepest parts of the world's oceans, in a single-person submarine. The billionaire, will make five dives over the next two years, to destinations, including the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Sir Richard Branson, the famous mogul and chief executive
behind the Virgin Media Empire has always had a taste for

Sir Richard Branson, the famous mogul and chief executive behind the Virgin Media Empire has always had a taste for adventure. As he gets older,it remains undiminished.

He said, "Man has not explored our oceans. The deepest an American submarine or a Chinese submarine or a British submarine has been down is about 18,000 feet. Yet our oceans go down to about 36,000 feet."

Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson poses atop the Virgin Oceanic Expeditions deep-sea submarine, in which Branson, Welsh and others plan to take solo piloted expeditions to the deepest point in each of the world's five oceans. This first sub, which will carry one person, is capable of reaching depths of about 11 000 meters below the surface. Photo: AP

Branson has announced the Virgin Oceanic and Five Dives initiative. The goal is to send a single pilot to the deepest parts of the Earth's five major oceans in a Virgin-branded deep sea submarine.

The submarine is reportedly capable of cruising for about 10 kilometers and can stay down unaided for 24 hours.

He said, "This craft has been built to withstand 1500 times the pressure that an airplane withstands. So the pressure of 36,000 foot under water is absolutely gigantic. this craft has been built to go deeper than Everest is high."

Each dive will be driven by a different commander. Chris Welsh will lead the dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest known trench on the planet.

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