To the deep sea and beyond: The mini submarines that will take tourists to the bottom of the ocean

Posted: 08/12/2011 in all marine news

Daily Mail –

He once promised to send man to outer space and now entrepreneur and daredevil Richard Branson is turning his attention to another of the world’s greatest undiscovered surfaces, in the shape of the sea floor.

The Virgin owner, together with director James Cameron and Internet mastermind Eric E.Schmidt are investing in the latest sea craft with the intention of plunging to depths previously unseen for man.

Developers Triton have already created their own craft and the company’s president Patrick Lahey revealed the host of discoveries that could soon be made including a close view of where the Titanic collapsed at the bottom of the ocean.

Lahey said: ‘There is a host of wonders down there. You could visit the mid-Atlantic thermal vents, where volcanic heated gases bubble up from Earth’s core, or cruise down to the wrecks of the Titanic or the Bismarck.

‘You will be able to access any place in the ocean and watch all those wonderful sea creatures.’

Back in April, Branson launched the Virgin Oceanic single-seater submarine with the intention of going 36,000 feat below the surface.

His eight-foot long craft, made of carbon fibre and titanium, has stubby wings and a cockpit. It can cruise for about 6.2miles and can stay submerged without help for 24 hours.

Sir Richard said: With space long ago reached by man, and commercial space flight tantalizingly close, the last great challenge for humans is to reach and explore the depths of our planet’s oceans.

‘There are enormous amounts of the oceans that have not been explored. More men have been to the moon than have been down further than 20,000 feet.’

Several firms are designing their own vessels aimed at exploring the a number of previously unreachable spots including the notorious Challenger Deep.

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