MARCH 4, 2021
Explorers Hamish Harding and Victor Vescovo are set to dive to the lowest depth of the Mariana Trench off Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean, in a two-person submersible, where they will attempt to break a Guinness World Record™ for the greatest distance traveled at Full Ocean Depth. The dive’s scientific objectives are to search areas of the Mariana Trench never before visited for new species and also for signs of human pollution affecting even this most remote area of planet Earth
Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench, Federated States of Micronesia -- On the 5th of March 2021, Explorers Hamish Harding and Victor Vescovo are set to journey to the depths of the Mariana Trench where they will attempt to be the first to ever traverse the entire length of the Earth’s deepest ocean point, the Eastern Pool of the Challenger Deep at a depth of 10,925 meters (35,843 feet).
Hamish Harding and Victor Vescovo are planning to set a new record for the greatest distance travelled at Full Ocean Depth.
This exceptional dive mission will take place at the Eastern Pool of the Challenger Deep, exploring more of the Challenger Deep than ever before in a single dive.
Full Ocean Depth (FOD) is defined as the official depth of the Challenger Deep’s lowest known point at 10,925 meters (+/- 4 meters measurement accuracy).
Harding will be the first resident of the Middle East ever to reach the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, and the 19th person since the first descent in 1960.
Capt. Harding is a pilot and world explorer, who holds 16 aviation world records to his name.
In 2019, Capt. Harding and a team of pilots accomplished the fastest circumnavigation of Earth over both geographic poles, in a Gulfstream G650ER business jet, in a time of 46hrs 40min 22sec, recognised by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and named One More Orbit. A Hollywood movie of the same name was released in late 2020 about the record attempt.
The dive mission is sponsored by Action Aviation, business jet sales and brokerage company.
Hamish’ 13 year old son Giles Harding will be accompanying his father on this expedition from the surface support ship and will attend his school’s virtual classes via satellite remote link to the ship.
Hamish Harding, chairman of Action Aviation and long-term resident of Dubai along with explorer and businessman Victor Vescovo, will dive to the earth’s deepest point to look for search for new marine species and evidence of human pollution. On Friday 5th March, Harding and Vescovo are also attempting to set a new Guinness World Record to for the greatest distance traveled at Full Ocean Depth, which, at nearly 11 km deep, is equivalent to 13 times the height of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Captain Hamish Harding
Hamish Harding, chairman of Action Aviation, is a British business jet broker, world explorer and Airline Transport Pilot, living in Dubai, with over 30 years of experience in the skies and knows first-hand what it's like to break records with several FAI speed and GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ in business jets under his belt.
Capt. Harding holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth via both poles, carried out in a Gulfstream G650ER business jet. His ‘One More Orbit’ mission took place during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing, as a tribute to the past, present and future of space exploration and human ingenuity.
Captain Hamish Harding, Chairman of Action Aviation, said: “The Challenger Deep is a little-studied and incredibly hostile environment. As an explorer and adventurer, I want this expedition to contribute to our shared knowledge and understanding of planet earth. During the dive, we will attempt, using a robotic arm, to collect samples from the ocean floor that could contain new life forms and may even provide further insights into how life on our planet began. And, in searching for signs of human pollution in this remote environment, we hope to aid scientific efforts to protect our oceans and ensure they flourish for millennia to come.”
For UAE media: “I’ve long been inspired by the spirit of adventure and innovation in my home country, the UAE – the feeling that anything is possible. I am proud to represent the UAE as the first resident from the Middle East to dive the Mariana Trench to the lowest point on Earth, the Challenger Deep.”
Not wanting to miss another opportunity of a lifetime, Giles Harding (13) will join his father again on his latest endeavor. From onboard the expedition’s research vessel, the DSSV Pressure Drop, on the surface above the Marianna Trench, Giles will document his father’s quest via his Instagram channel. Giles is a Year 9 student at Dubai College in the UAE and is continuing his Covid-related homeschooling by satellite Internet from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, possibly one of the most remote homeschooling locations in the world.
As a member of the Harding family of explorers, Giles joined his father Hamish Harding on an expedition to the South Pole in January 2020 becoming the youngest person ever to reach the South Pole.
As an official sponsor of the upcoming historical dive mission, Action Aviation has a history of sponsoring record-breaking expeditions. Founded in 2004 by Capt. Hamish Harding, Action Aviation now includes offices in UK, US, Dubai and India. It is a business aviation brokerage company which specialises in buying and selling high-end business jets worldwide.
Well acquainted with the skies, Harding is now looking to the ocean depths to discover the disturbing lengths to which man-made pollution has come. And not just any depth, 11 km below sea-level, to be exact. Challenger Deep, located in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in Micronesia, is the earth’s deepest known point and, while thousands of climbers have successfully scaled the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, Harding will be only the 19th person to have descended to Earth’s lowest point, the Challenger Deep, or ‘Full Ocean Depth’ as it is often referred to.
In fact, more people have been to the moon, in terms of landing and orbiting, than have been to Full Ocean Depth.
On this expedition, three new names are about to be added to that exclusive list of explorers as Richard Garriott, Michael Dubno and Hamish Harding are all preparing for three separate scientific expeditions in March 2021 that will make history, each one piloted by the owner of the mission’s support vessel and submersible, Victor Vescovo.
The Mariana Trench was first discovered by the HMS Challenger in 1875. The Challenger II, launched by Britain in 1951, was the first ship to survey the aptly named Challenger Deep. Just 9 years later, Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard were the first to dive to these unearthly depths, a feat that would not be repeated for another 52 years, in 2012, when the film director, James Cameron carried out the first solo dive. In both scenarios, returning to the ocean floor was impossible due to the drastic effects of the pressure on the craft, but Victor Vescovo’s DSV Limiting Factor, the same submersible used on this mission, broke barriers in becoming the first submersible capable of repeat trips to Full Ocean Depth.
The pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench is 1200 times the normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. The DSV Limiting Factor is designed to withstand 116.7MPa - that's 100,000 tonnes of pressure bearing down on the submersible at Full Ocean Depth, which is the equivalent to the weight of 300 jumbo jets or 8000 London double-decker buses. Without the Limiting Factor’s 9 cm thick titanium sphere, the amount of pressure experienced at these depths would kill a human in an instant.
In 2019, Victor Vescovo discovered a plastic bag lying on the Mariana Trench’s seafloor, which served as disturbing evidence of the 14 million+ tonnes of plastic that is believed to circulate at the bottom of the ocean floor.
Plastic pollution is emerging as one of the most serious threats to ocean ecosystems so the discovery of plastic waste at the Challenger Deep’s depth of almost 11,000 meters would truly highlight humanity’s concerning the impact on the planet.
The event will be covered live on social media.
Official Hashtag #
LinkedIn: Hamish Harding, Action Aviation Chairman
One More Orbit
Director of Communications, Action Aviation
MARCH 4, 2021
UAE-BASED EXPLORER SETS TWO NEW GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS DURING HISTORIC DIVE TO THE EARTH’S DEEPEST POINT
Hamish Harding, Chairman of Action Aviation and famed fellow explorer Victor Vescovo, have successfully traversed the greatest ever distance at Full Ocean Depth, the Challenger Deep, located in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on earth at 10,925 meters (35,843 feet).
On Friday 5th March, they explored areas of the Challenger Deep where no person had ever been before, as well as discovering a possible new species of marine life.
The 12 hour historic mission in a two-person submersible has been verified for two new Guinness World Records – the greatest distance travelled at Full Ocean Depth and greatest duration spent at Full Ocean Depth at 4 hours 15 minutes.
10th March 2021: Hamish Harding, Chairman of Action Aviation and fellow ocean explorer Victor Vescovo, have been added to the history books as the first humans to successfully traverse the full length of the deepest section of the Challenger Deep, located in the Mariana Trench. Using the DSV Limiting Factor, a highly capable two-seater submersible, the dive has now been verified as a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ for both the greatest distance travelled at Full Ocean Depth and the greatest duration spent at Full Ocean Depth.
Harding’s mission to the Challenger Deep did not find visible signs of human pollution but extensive water samples taken during the dive will now be analysed by Newcastle University in the UK for research such as micro plastics testing. However, in line with the dive’s scientific objectives, a possible new species was discovered. Resembling a hollow shrimp, this marine invertebrate was found 10,9 km below sea level at atmospheric pressures 1,200 times higher than what humans experience, with ongoing analysis on the creatures onboard the mission’s support vessel, the DSSV Pressure Drop.
Danger In The Deep
The mission was not without its dramatic moments however, with the discovery that the Challenger Deep’s floor is not flat as previously thought. During the mission’s record breaking traverse of 4,634 meters, the submersible was forced to ascend around 800 meters to clear an unmapped mountainous plateau, the approximate height of Burj Khalifa with a shape resembling South Africa’s Table Mountain. This undersea mountain is yet to be named.
The dive was supported by two robotic landers, named CLOSP and FLERE, which allow the sub to triangulate sonar returns to determine its location. They also collect samples from the ocean floor and aid in communications between the submersible and the DSSV Pressure Drop at the surface. These robotic landers descend to Full Ocean Depth four hours prior to the start of the dive and ascend after the dive is completed. The landers also collect samples, such as CLOSP’s findings of a number of isopods that will be later studied by scientists aboard the DSSV Pressure Drop, before being sent to Newcastle University and the British Geological Survey for further analysis.
DSV Limiting Factor
The expedition’s submersible, the Triton-built DSV Limiting Factor has been designed to withstand 100,000 tonnes of atmospheric pressure at Full Ocean Depth with its purpose-built 90 mm thick titanium sphere. To put this level of force into perspective, it would be the equivalent of 300 Jumbo Jets or 8,000 double-decker buses on top of a human.
Harding is the 16th person to dive to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in 60 years, compared to 24 astronauts who have orbited or landed on the moon and the thousands who have successfully climbed Mount Everest. The first submersible was a US Navy vessel called the Trieste that descended to the ocean floor in 1960 where it spent just twenty minutes before ascending. Fast forward to 2012 and Hollywood director, James Cameron, was the first to make a solo manned descent aboard DSV Deepsea Challenger. Harding’s mission took place aboard DSV Limiting Factor, which is the first submersible that can undertake repeat trips to Full Ocean Depth and traverse the bottom for significant periods of time.
“To travel to parts of the Challenger Deep where no human had ever been before was truly remarkable. The Challenger Deep is an incredibly hostile environment and so little is known about life on the ocean floor. To discover both a potential new species and unmapped territory so far below sea level and setting two new Guinness World Records is a once in a lifetime achievement and I hope it will also inspire others to push the boundaries of what’s possible” --Hamish Harding says of the mission.
Harding also holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth via both poles, in a Gulfstream G650ER business jet. This mission, named ‘One More Orbit’ is featured in its own documentary film of the same name and took place during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing, as a tribute to the past, present and future of space exploration. Harding’s son Giles frequently joins him on his expeditions, being the youngest person ever to visit the South Pole in 2020.
Giles Harding joined his father yet again on this mission, staying aboard the expedition’s support vessel, DSSV Pressure Drop, to document his father’s quest on his Instagram channel @giles.explores. He also performed cognitive experiments on his father at both the surface and, via the acoustic modem when his father reached full ocean depth, to understand the cognitive effects such extreme environments can have on the human body. The result of these experiments will be revealed in due course.
Harding’s mission has garnered interest from the international musical community with the expedition inspiring three Norwegian musicians who, combined hold millions of streams to their names, to create a tribute track dedicated to this incredible expedition and will be released on all music streaming platforms to further encourage young explorers to push their ambition to the limits.
A REVOLUTIONARY EXPLAINER film, expected to be released on the evening of Wednesday 10th March, will take advantage of industry-leading AR and VR technology to visually recreate key parts of this historic dive mission. Created by the creative branding and virtual production specialists: MYREZE, this animated film seamlessly blends 3D graphics with the virtual world, featuring Jannicke Mikkelsen, FNF (NOR), the expedition’s communication director, taking the viewers for an underwater ride from inside a virtual studio also designed by MYREZE.
This is not the first time MYREZE has been part of a historic moment. In 2020 MYREZE had collaborated with the Weather Channel on their groundbreaking virtual studio which took their visual storytelling abilities to new heights. Now, MYREZE is pushing the boundaries of storytelling yet again on this latest historic endeavour.
Harding has established the One More Orbit Foundation to inspire and sponsor the explorers of tomorrow to achieve the impossible through educational outreach in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
As official sponsor of the upcoming historical dive mission, Action Aviation has a history of sponsoring record-breaking expeditions. Founded in 2004 by Hamish Harding, Action Aviation now includes offices in UK, US, Dubai and India. It is a business aviation company which specialises in buying and selling high-end business jets worldwide.
for an Augmented Reality video explaining the dive. High resolution imagery of Hamish Harding, Victor Vescovo, Giles Harding and the Mission is available on request.
2D infographic Video
English Version: https://youtu.be/5vQDqq0kN9I
Arabic Version: https://youtu.be/I0gHyutte7I
Official mission Hashtag #OneMoreRecord
One More Orbit
For more information, images or to arrange interviews with Hamish Harding or Giles Harding please contact:
Director of Communications, Action Aviation