Day two of the Brainstorm GREEN conference
yesterday revealed that Richard Branson will embark on an undersea venture
where he will explore some of the deepest parts of the oceans around the
GREEN conference is where thought leaders and business leaders - such
as Fortune 500 companies,
government policymakers and environmental activists - come together for a
three-day symposium in Laguna Niguel, California in order to exchange and
Branson is a British entrepreneur who is known for the Virgin brand. He first
launched Virgin Records in 1972, which later became Virgin Megastores. The name
then grew into over 400 companies, which make up the Virgin Group. Branson is
also deeply interested in environmental endeavors, such as the Virgin Green
Fund, which invests in companies that can compete with "dirty
industries" like oil and make a profit in order to eliminate
reliance on dirty fuels.
the Brainstorm GREEN conference, Branson told Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer that
he would be exploring the deepest parts of the world's oceans in the Virgin Oceanic submarine.
which was designed by Graham Hawkes, weighs 8,000 lbs and is made of carbon fiber
and titanium. It has an operating depth of 37,000 ft and can operate for 24
hours "unaided." It was designed in such a way that it looks like it
has fins and a unique flying wing so that can range the seas "in harmony
with its environment." In addition, Branson notes that it is much less
expensive to operate and manufacture than other subs that cannot achieve full
ocean depth like the Virgin Oceanic can.
Oceanic will expand the reach of human
exploration on our planet," said Branson. "By promoting and
utilizing new technology, Virgin Oceanic will aid humankind's ability to
explore our oceans, assist science in understanding our ecosystem and raise
awareness of the challenges facing our oceans."
noted that other submarines prior to the Virgin Oceanic could only dive 18,000
ft, while some of the deepest trenches in the world are around 36,000 ft. The
Virgin Oceanic was designed to be the first sub to explore some of these
Virgin Oceanic venture will consist of five dives in five different oceans. The
crew will explore the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, the Diamantina Trench in
the Indian, the South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Atlantic, the Puerto Rico
Trench in the Atlantic and the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean.
dive will be piloted by different commanders with Chris Welsh diving to the
Mariana Trench (36,201 ft) with Sir Richard as back-up pilot, and Sir Richard
piloting to the Puerto Rico Trench (28,232 ft) - the deepest trench in the
Atlantic, which has never been explored before - with Chris Welsh acting as
back-up," said Branson. "The Virgin Oceanic sub has the ability to
'fly' underwater for 10 km at depth on each of the five dives and to fully
explore this unknown environment."
mission is expected to take two years.