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Trash found littering Mariana Trench in deepest-ever submarine dive

14 May 2019

Over four hours exploring the seabed of the trench he saw sea creatures, plastic bags and lolly wrappers.

American explorer Victor Vescovo, who has already scaled Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, made history by reaching the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Vescovo says he's proud of these scientific finds - and also that the team's got a submersible that's up for the challenge.

They also collected samples of brightly-coloured rocky outcrops from the seabed.

"It's nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Vescovo said.

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In the Java Trench, the deepest point of the Indian Ocean, researchers identified a gelatinous animal - thought to be a stalked ascidean, otherwise known as a sea squirt - which they said does not resemble anything seen before.

Vescovo went almost seven miles deep or 35,853 feet, that's 52 feet more than any person has ever gone. "This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to an unprecedented new level by diving - rapidly and repeatedly - into the deepest, harshest area of the ocean".

Images from the fourth of The Five Deeps dive to Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean.

What is the Mariana Trench?

The first deep dive into the Mariana Trench was in 1960, when U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard ventured into the deep abyss of the Pacific Ocean. Humanity's impact had reached the deepest parts of the sea floor, too, the team realized. Vescovo is planning to complete his historic expedition in late August when he dives the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean. They also found pollution.

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During their descent, the expedition crew saw a number of sea creatures - a spoon worm at 7000 metres and a pink snailfish at 8000m - and believe they discovered four new species of crustaceans called amphipods, similar to prawns.

Third ever time humans have made it to bottom of the Mariana Trench - and what do they see? In 2012, movie director James Cameron made a solo trip into the Mariana Trench, however Mr Vescovo's team broke Cameron's previous records by about 11 metres.

The final challenge will be to reach the bottom of the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, which is now scheduled for August 2019.

After spending hours crisscrossing the bottom of the Challenger Deep, collecting video evidence of different wildlife, geological formations and man-made objects, Vescovo stopped for a second.

It can withstand the crushing pressure found at the bottom of the ocean: 1,000 bars, which is the equivalent of 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person.

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