A Chinese expedition into the deepest waters on Earth has reached the incredible depth of 10,791 feet.
The Chinese submarine Fendouzhe is on an extensive mission to map the depths of the Mariana Trench, a region in the western Pacific Ocean believed to contain the deepest ocean trenches in the world.
Only 13 people have visited the Forbidden Region before. The Fendouzhe has made several dives in recent days.
In November, it set a national record for manned deep-sea diving after being sunk in the trench’s deepest known point, Challenger Deep.
On November 10, Fendouzhe broadcast the world’s first live video from Challenger Deep.
The incredible pressure at such depths makes survival a perilous affair, and only a few craft have ever ventured into the murky waters of the trench.
Part of the motive behind the Chinese mission is to explore the feasibility of mining rare and exotic minerals at those depths.
The water pressure at the bottom of the trench is about 8 tons per square inch, about a thousand times the atmospheric pressure at sea level.
“It takes more than two trials before we can call it a real success,” Zhu Min, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences involved in the mission, told China’s state television channel CCTV.
Victor Vescovo’s Deep-Submergence Vehicle DSV Limiting Factor has the absolute depth record, at 35,850 ft, which was set in April 2019.
Amazingly, animals live at those impossible depths. 60 years ago submersible Trieste made its first descent to the Challenger Deep, and one of the crew described “a kind of flatfish” lying on the seabed that they described as “a monster of steel.”
Only a few manned missions have gone so deep since the Trieste in 1960. Titanic director James Cameron made a solo descent in 2012, describing finding an “desolate” and “alien” environment.