Deep Sea Demons - Real DSVs
The deepest known point in the oceans of the world is called Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
It's possible there are even deeper trenches elsewhere since much of the ocean bottom hasn't been mapped yet.
It's named "Challenger Deep" because it was discovered in 1875 by a British Navy sailing ship on a scientific mission. Since electronics hadn't been invented yet, the sailors tied a lead weight onto a rope and threw it in the ocean. The rope kept going and going, down into the water, stopping almost seven miles down (I can't even imagine what a seven-mile reel of rope looks like!) It was, and still is, the deepest point known, so it was named for the ship that found it -- The Challenger.
I, Kmusser, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
William Frederick Mitchell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The very first DSV to reach the Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench was the Trieste. In 1960 two men, Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, descended 35,797 feet -- almost seven miles -- into the Pacific Ocean. On the way down the pressure was so great that one of their windows cracked, but they kept going. Notice the sphere on the bottom -- that's the 5' "gondola" where the two men sat for many hours for the trip.
RalphSutherland, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
It wasn't until 52 years later that the next human visited Challenger Deep. In 2012 movie director James Cameron descended in his DSV Deepsea Challenger.
Notice again that most of the craft is simply for buoyancy and support -- Cameron was safe only in the small titanium sphere at the bottom.
Zuckerberg, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Another DSV, Limiting Factor, not only visited Challenger Deep, but in 2019 businessman and explorer Victor Vescovo made multiple dives to the bottom of all five of the planet's oceans.
While it seems like a very strange shape, remember that DSVs aren't built for cruising around the world -- they're built for going straight down, exploring a little, then coming straight back up.
And just like all the others, the part the humans sit in is a titanium sphere around six feet in diameter.
Richard Varcoe on behalf of Caladan Oceanic LLC, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
RETURN TO EXTRAS