Space and sea explorer Richard Garriott is the first person in the world to have explored the North Pole, the South Pole, flown to the International Space Station and descended to the deepest point on Earth – the Mariana Trench.
“It is literally the deepest place on Earth,” Garriott, a video game developer, told Reuters on Thursday. “It is almost 11,000 meters of sea water deep – that is deeper than Mount Everest is high above sea level, by a couple thousand meters at least.”
Garriott got back from the dive less than a week ago and said it took about four hours to descend 7 miles (11 km) to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. The trip, which was in a small vessel designed to withstand the enormous pressure at those depths, was to collect geological, water and sea creature samples for research.
Garriott partnered with the National Association for the Teaching of English and passed time by reading student-submitted cinquains, a type of poem with only 22 syllables.
Garriott is known for his adventure travels, commercial space endeavors and scientific research, a passion he shared with his father, NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who died in 2019.