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Brit astronaut to explore deepest place on Earth and ‘alien’ ocean floor

A Brit astronaut is planning to explore the deepest place in the world and take an epic journey to the bottom of the ocean.

Just 13 people have explored the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, almost seven miles deep.

Titanic director James Cameron made a solo descent in 2012, and described finding a "desolate" and "alien" environment.

Richard Garriott, who flew to the International Space Station in 2008, is going to make the journey later the month.

In doing so, he will become the first British astronaut to travel in space and reach the bottom of the ocean, the Daily Mirror reports.

Richard, who holds dual US-British citizenship after being born in Cambridge, will spend 12 hours in a specially constructed submersible – allowing four hours to descend, four hours for research and four hours to ascend back to the “mothership.”

He said: “It’s going to be pretty hard to beat space. The view of the earth from space is truly life changing.

“There is something called the overview effect which is literally a life-changing experience most people who orbit the earth have had – and I have that too.

“While the view from a port-hole viewport from the submersible will only be as far as the lighting will provide you.

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“It will be like looking at the moon but when you’re only 10ft above the surface of it just looking at the rocks and bumps and dust – not the big picture of the whole thing.

He and his research team are hoping to discover fish and other species which have never been seen before.

The incredible submersible which will take Richard Garriott to the foot of the ocean was designed by two Brits who have been friends since they met as teenagers in a rural Lincolnshire village.

John Ramsay, 40, and Tom Blades, 37, became pals fooling around making videos and doing a series of holiday jobs together.

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Now they are regarded as world pioneers in the submarine business and designed the submersible for this project.

John said: “This particular submersible was not just designed to take someone to the bottom of the ocean and set a world record.

“The idea was to make a submersible that wasn’t an experiment, this would have a legacy going on for years completing science and exploring the ocean.

“We had a two-year build programme to make this certified full ocean depth diving two-passenger submersible.

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Richard will be bringing pictures drawn by the children of Daily Mirror readers, and submissions can be sent to Richard at[email protected]by 5pm, February 19.

Please include your name, age, school and email.

Richard will be talking about his ‘Venture to the Deep’ mission on Monday 15th February, 6pm, at the SunSpaceArt (STEM+Arts) Festival.

It is free and will be live streamed via AstroTVEarth YouTubehere.

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