Mariana Trench: Don Walsh's son repeats historic ocean dive
Kelly Walsh, 52, spent four hours at the foot of the Challenger Deep
It used to be said that more people ran on the surface of the moon than dipped into the deepest part of the earth's oceans. No longer.
Kelly Walsh, the son of the great ocean explorer Don Walsh, has just fallen to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, almost 11 km deep in the Pacific.
He made the dive 60 years after his father made history with it.
This means that Kelly is the 12th person to visit the trench floor - just like the number of Apollo lunar runners.
During the 12-hour dive on Saturday, it reached a depth of approx. 10,925 m.
Kelly described it as "an extremely emotional journey" after she returned to the surface.
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Challenger Deep (red pen) is the deepest part of the deepest ocean trench on earth (depth in meters).
The descent was controlled by financier and adventurer Victor Vescovo. The Texan makes a series of dives into the deepest point of the Mariana Trench known as Challenger Deep.
Mr. Vescovo has acquired an auxiliary ship and a human-rated submersible that he uses to monitor several of the most extreme locations on the ocean floor.
The youngest passengers to travel to the Challenger Deep with him include the first women to take the trip - former NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan and British-American mountaineer Vanessa O'Brien.
But Kelly Walsh's lineage is particularly noteworthy because of his father Don. On January 23, 1960, the then officer of the US Navy, accompanied by Swiss citizen Jacques Piccard, made the first crewed dive with the Bathyscaphe Trieste on the bottom of the deepest ocean trench on earth.
Don Walsh (bottom right) and Jacques Piccard (top right) made their historic dive in 1960
It was an amazing feat given the precarious nature of the expedition. The trench is so deep that it would be possible to place Mount Everest (8,848 m) in it and still have more than 2 km of water above the summit. The pressure on the bottom of the trench presses - about 100 million pascals, almost 16,000 pounds per square inch.
Sixty years later, modern technology means that Victor Vescovo can reliably perform very safe and repetitive dives, so that he himself sank six times in his submersible, the 12-ton limiting factor for deep-sea craft (DSV).
On Saturday Vescovo and Walsh spent four hours on the floor of the so-called "Western Pool" - one of three different zones in the Challenger Deep. It's the same pool that Don Walsh and Piccard visited, and the last dive was the first time anyone had been back since.
Victor Vescovo (L) posted this picture of himself and Kelly Walsh (R) on Friday
Scottish marine biologist Alan Jamieson is one of the 12 who immersed the Mariana Trench. He went with Mr. Vescovo to a slightly flatter (10,700 m) location east of Challenger Deep, known as Sirena Deep.
Regarding Kelly Walsh's dive, he said: "It is a commemoration of what his father did. It is also a kind of demonstration that we have not lost this ability. People often ask why we are unable to at the moment seem to be going. " Moon had done it in the 60s and 70s. Don Walsh also went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench with the deep ocean and then we stopped walking for several decades. But now we show that we can do it again and we make it load. "
Dr. Jamieson is in the process of joining Mr. Vescovo's expedition. It is planned to bring the DSV limiting factor shortly into the Philippine trench, which is only third in terms of depth at 10,500 m after the Mariana and Tonga trenches.
But it's a very important place in the history of ocean research, Dr. Jon Copley from the University of Southampton.
Here the Danish Galathea expedition dragged animals from a depth of more than 10 km in 1951. It was the first evidence that taller animals could live deeper than 10,000 m, he told BBC News.
Victor Vescovo's exploits can be followed on the website of Caladan Oceanic, who organized the project with Triton Submarines, who developed the Limiting Factor, and EYOS Expeditions.
Dr. Copley has a history of ocean research in his blog.
The 12 who dived to the bottom of the Mariana Trench
Jacques Piccard (Switzerland) 1960 (Bathyscaphe Trieste)
Don Walsh (USA) 1960 (Bathyscaphe Trieste)
James Cameron (Canada) 2012 (DeepSea Challenger HOV)
Victor Vescovo (US) 2019 (DSV limiting factor)
Patrick Lahey (Canada) 2019 (DSV limiting factor)
Jonathan Struwe (Germany) 2019 (DSV limitation factor)
John Ramsay (UK) 2019 (DSV limiting factor)
Dr. Alan Jamieson (UK) 2019 (Sirena Deep, 10.7 km depth; DSV limiting factor)
Dr. Kathryn Sullivan (USA) June 7, 2020 (DSV limiting factor)
Vanessa O'Brien (USA / Great Britain) June 11, 2020 (DSV limiting factor)
John Rost (USA) June 14, 2020 (DSV limiting factor)
Kelly Walsh (USA) June 20, 2020 (DSV limiting factor)
Source: Dr. Jon Copley @expeditionlog
Victor Vescovo has plunged into the deepest parts of all the world's oceans
Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos
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