Captain Nemo of the Necker Nymph Virgin
A virgin craft called necker NYMPH diving into the deepest trenches.
Daredevil explorer, entrepreneur and Earth (and space) conquerer, Sir Richard Branson is all set to break new ground with his next venture. Or should that be divine the depths of Earth's five oceans which is really what he plans on doing – all within the next two years too in a one-manned sub
The submarine was designed by Graham Hawkes, and originally commissioned by Branson's friend and fellow adventurer Steve Fossett, who unfortunately died in a plane crash in 2007. This tiny submarine has a maximum speed of 3 knots. It reportedly will have a life support capacity of 24 hours but the plan is to not be there anywhere near that length of time. Calculations indicate a round trip to be no longer than five hours down and then up again.
The actual submarine itself has to be made with sufficient strength to withstand enormous water pressure as it is capable of operating at a depth of seven miles. At that depth the water pressure is over 1,000 atmospheres. Hence, the dome covering the pilot's seat cannot be made of glass for the simple reason it could not withstand that type of pressure. I certainly never guessed the dome covering the pilot's seat was carved out of a single piece of solid quartz though.
Sir Richard is one of the best marketers this planet has ever seen. 'Stunts' such as these are brilliant for business, great for his ego and fantastic opportunities for the world to explore where we haven't been able to until now.
The Virgin Oceanic venture (and as Sir Richard's ship has been branded) is a major league science project as well as an adventure for Sir Richard. The overall aim of the series of dives in the next two years, is to gather data about the world's deepest ocean trenches. The first dive into the Mariana Trench will be piloted by Chris Welsh another of Sir Richard's partners in this venture. And yes, the Mariana Trench was first explored by Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, who went down in a vessel called Trieste back in 1960. One major difference is that it could only travel up and down though. Hawkes' design has wings, inspired by rays, enabling it to fly around underwater, gliding on ocean currents. Sir Richard, now to be known as Captain Nemo, is set to pilot the sub on its second mission to the Puerto Rico Trench.
Before the submarine dives occur, remote-control robot landers are to be sent down with bait to attract the wildlife. I'm really wondering how we know what the wildlife will be attracted to given we're really not that conversant with 'what's down there'. Cameras will be attached to the remote control robot landers as a means of being able to film the submarine when it gets there It's pitch black down there so that little sub had better be lit up like a Christmas Tree.
If Sir Richard Branson can pull off this Virgin sub sea mission – he'll be declared a living wonder I'm sure of that. He will definitely have set a few more world records too.
Captain Nemo rides again.