Richard Branson took time out earlier this week to applaud the record-breaking dive of James Cameron, even as Branson makes his own preparations to tackle the ocean's deepest points. 


"It's incredible what he achieved today," Branson told the AFP after the "Avatar" director descended more than 35,000 feet to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. 


Last April, Branson and fellow explorer Chris Welch announced the Five Dives Expedition, which would see the duo, in partnership with the BBC, dive and film the deepest points of the world's five oceans.


According to the 61-year-old billionaire, after a series of final pressure tests later this year, his Virgin Oceanic submarine will take him to the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, the 28,000-foot-deep Puerto Rico Trench. 
"Nobody in the Atlantic has been further down," Branson said, "and the Puerto Rico Trench is nearly 30,000 feet (8,600 meters), deeper than Everest is high."
A recent blog post on the expedition's official site offered even more praise for Cameron, hinting that his accomplishments with the Deepsea Challenger sub might compliment the team's own unique technology. 
"Virgin Oceanic has had a very positive relationship with Jim’s effort. We shared the development of sonar for use in deep sea navigation. Virgin Oceanic Co-Founder and Chief Pilot Chris Welsh was aboard with Jim’s team last week in Guam, and we both hope there will be a chance to dive the two subs together in the near future. The Virgin sub is excellent for large scale exploration and identifying areas worthy of more detailed examination, and Jim’s sub is perfect for detailed examination of those sites once found. We can achieve more through collaboration that just the sum of our efforts."
In his interview with the AFP, Branson reiterated his hope for a future partnership. 
"It's quite possible we might put the two submarines together and explore different parts of the oceans," Branson said. "They're the only two submarines in the world capable of going below 18,000 feet."
As for Cameron, the bottom of the sea was definitely not enough. According to National Geographic, the explorer and his team have “have more dives planned in the coming weeks as part of the Deepsea Challenge project.”

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

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