Not content with conquering the heavens with commercial spaceflight outfit Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson is taking on the deep, diving into a new venture: Virgin Oceanic.
Virgin Oceanic plans to explore the deepest depth of the Earth's five oceans in the next two years. Which is great and all, but even we know there are seven seas and we never got past doggy paddle. We suggest Branson and his buddies get a few episodes of seaQuest DSV under their belts before they go any further with this idea.
The plan is for Branson himself to take a submarine to the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean at 8,605 metres. But first, Branson's partner in the deep-diving venture, Chris Welsh, will descend to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, estimated to be up to 10,971m deep.
On the way down, the Virgin Oceanic sub will carry out scientific research. Here's hoping they find Nemo. Have a butchers' at this video of the new sub in action:
The one-man sub is designed by Graham Hawkes, another partner in Virgin Oceanic. Hawkes previously designed the Necker Nymph, a 5-metre long open sub capable of diving to 40 metres.
Virgin Galactic is set to be the first space airline with the VMS Enterprise nearly ready to take to the stars. Virgin Galactic has ain the New Mexico desert, from which passengers will depart for space aboard the SpaceShipTwo vessel. More than 400 wannabe astronauts have laid down the requisite £128,000 for a 5-minute zero gravity jaunt.
That's enough of that. If you're looking for me, you'd better check under the sea.