Plastic found during historic ocean dive in Mariana Trench

Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

In among the prawn-like creatures, diver Victor Vescovo also found pollution.

Until now, only two people have successfully made it to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the planet's deepest point at the southern end of the Mariana Trench.

Last month, Vescovo became the first human to dive to the deepest part of the Indian Ocean: the Java Trench.

The first dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench took place in 1960 by US Navy lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard. He descended an impressive 35,853 feet (10,927 meters) into the Pacific Ocean, 52 feet (16 meters) deeper than any previous crewed dive.

Vescovo dove in a submersible called the Limiting Factor, now the world's deepest-diving operational submarine.

"Honestly, it feels like a very great privilege", Vescovo told For The Win Outdoors in an email. "I was surrounded by enormous pressure, but I was safely cocooned in my technological bubble".

The Skaff lander floats next to the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Oceans's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019.




The team also discovered brightly colored rocks on the sea floor, potentially formed by microbes, the BBC reports.

Lahey said the Limiting Factor "represents a quantum leap in the capabilities of a manned submersible and everyone at Triton is immensely proud to have had the privilege and opportunity to create such a remarkable craft, which was only possible by the unwavering support and vision of Victor Vescovo". Supergiant amphipods were seen at 8,000 meters (or 26,246 feet). The deepest deep-sea dive ever may have just found them, the BBC reports.

The team said its scientists were going to perform tests on the creatures found to determine the percentage of plastics found in them.

In addition to discovering at least three new species of marine animals during the dive series, including a shrimp-like crustacean known as an amphipod, the team also discovered what appears to be a plastic bag at the bottom of the ocean.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, but Vescovo is quick to point out their achievement was far greater than his in reaching the deepest place on Earth.

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.

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