Unique vessel capable of traveling seven miles begins drop to Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench.

Courtesy of Michael Dubno

There’s a lot of debate about the expression, “may you live in interesting times.” Where did it come from? Is it a wish or a curse? Whatever the back story, it’s safe to say 2021 was, to put it politely, interesting in the extreme. But, for one inventor-computer scientist-video game developer-explorer from New York, there may never be another year as amazing as the one he’s just had.

While most of the world was fending off COVID-19 and living on Zoom, and while environmentalists were gearing up to talk about climate, carbon, biodiversity, marine ecosystems, and oceans at COP26, Michael Dubno was immersed in a mission to visit the deepest part of the ocean, Challenger Deep, the Mariana Trench. It’s named after the HMS Challenger whose crew, in 1875, first sounded the depths of the Trench.

“If you were to drain Earth, what gets exposed by 6,000 meters (around 19,000 feet) is basically the entire earth, except for five or six trenches,” says Dubno, still in awe of the experience. “I personally was on the tenth dive to full ocean depth and was the 18th person to go down there.” His exploration plunged to the record depth of 11,000 meters, or roughly 36,000 feet. The U.S. National Ocean Service maps it beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam.

Inventor-explorer Michael Dubno boards customized submarine to visit the Challenger Deep, Mariana ... [+] Trench deepest ocean depth on the planet.