Chinese Submersible Visits Challenger Deep, the Ocean's Deepest Point

By Matthew Bossons, June 10, 2020

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China’s scientific community is celebrating a new Chinese record after unmanned submersible ‘Haidou-1’ reached a depth of 10,907 meters in the Mariana Trench, which is located over 2,200 kilometers east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.

Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is believed to be the deepest point on the world’s seabed, and the Chinese expedition team has said that Haidou-1 passed below the 10,000-meter mark four times at Challenger Deep.  

Members of the expedition team were from the Shenyang Institute of Automation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, according to state-run media. The team departed from China on their grand undersea adventure on April 23 and returned to Northeast China’s Liaoning province on June 8.

During the deep-sea dive, scientists tested “high-precision depth detection, machine hand operation, acoustic detection and positioning, and high-definition video transmission,” according to Xinhua. Haidou-1 also collected samples and snapped some high-def photos of little-explored Challenger Deep.

While China’s recent expedition utilized an unmanned submersible, humans have visited the deepest spot in the ocean before – including on Monday of this week, when Kathy Sullivan, America’s first female spacewalker, and American adventurer Victor Vescovo descended to the bottom of Challenger Deep.

American adventurer Victor Vescovo. Image via Wikimedia

Sullivan reportedly called the International Space Station from the deepest point in the Mariana Trench. The mission saw her become the eighth person and first woman to reach the deepest known spot in the ocean, according to NBC.

In May of last year, Vescovo set the depth record at Challenger Deep, descending nearly 11 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Celebrated director James Cameron, of Titanic and Avatar fame, completed a solo dive to Challenger Deep in 2012, which was profiled in the documentary Deepsea Challenge 3D.

The first people to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench were American Don Walsh and Swiss Jacques Piccard in 1960.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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