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Virgin Oceanic Surfaces, Richard Branson Debuts 'Flying' Submarine In Newport Beach

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With Virgin Galactic now taking reservations for outer space, billionaire voyager Richard Branson has turned his attention back to planet Earth with the launch of Virgin Oceanic. As it turns out, he would like to be, under the sea, in an tiny flying sub craft built for one.

On Tuesday in Newport Beach, Branson unveiled a single-person submarine intended to set as many as 30 world records by exploring the deepest parts of the world's oceans including "the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic's Puerto Rico Trench and South Sandwich Trench, the Diamantina Trench in the Indian Ocean and the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean," reports the Associated Press.

Said Branson at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, "The last great challenge for humans is to explore the depths of our planet's oceans." Fellow adventurer, Chris Welsh, is set to make the first dive later this year to the Mariana Trench, "which at 36,000 feet is deeper than Mount Everest is high," reports the AP.

Notes the LA Times:

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Katrina Edwards, director of the USC Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, has been collaborating on the project. Her research focuses on "extreme life" in the seabed beneath these trenches. She wants to find out how far into the Earth's crust microorganisms can live.