In Brief

Explorer Reaches the Deepest Point in the Atlantic Ocean

The submersible for the Five Deeps Expedition during its testing.
The submersible for the Five Deeps Expedition during its testing. (Image credit: The Five Deeps Expedition)

Explorer and multimillionaire Victor Vescovo just reached the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean — the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench.

Vescovo became the first person to do so on a solo mission in a manned submersible vessel and the second ever to make a solo dive deeper than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), according to a statement released by the Discovery Channel which will air a documentary of the expedition in the upcoming years. 

The deepest point of this trench plunges to 8,376 meters (27,480 feet) below the surface of the ocean. James Cameron, in the Deepsea Challenger vessel, dove deeper in 2012 to 10,908 meters (35,790 feet) down in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the world's deepest spot. [9 Craziest Ocean Voyages]

"It felt great to get to the true bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history and to prove the technical capabilities of this diving system, which we believe is now the deepest operational one in the world," Vescovo said in the statement. "We are really looking forward to continuing to the other dive sites, and continuing our technical and scientific goals."

The submersible is designed to easily and quickly glide through the water column and is equipped with sonar technology to map the ocean floor in three dimensions. The team is also using this technology to figure out where the deepest parts of the ocean are — and calibrate inaccuracies in documented depths.

Vescovo has previously climbed to the highest points of the world, including Mount Everest.

Now, he's going as deep as he can. Vescovo's dive is part of The Five Deeps Expedition, an oceanic exploration that plans to reach the deepest part of each of the five oceans: the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the slightly less deep Java Trench in the Indian Ocean and the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean.

But next up is the remote South Sandwich Trench, the deepest point in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.