Friday, January 22, 2010

$10 Million Prize to be offered to reach bottom of Marianas Trench

There is a lot of news about the Marianas Trench this week because of the 50 year anniversary of Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard's dive to the deepest, darkest point in the ocean. Combined with last year's creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and Governor Fitial's late night massages, there is great potential for the Marianas to recieve a lot of international media attention in the upcoming months and years.

I've mentioned in several posts that James Cameron is developing a submarine to reach the bottom of the trench (has anyone called him yet?). Times Online builds on that story by announcing that the X Prize Foundation will soon be announcing a new challenge:
(L)ater this year the X Prize Foundation will offer at least $10 million (£6 million) for the first privately funded craft to make two repeat visits to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

The initial X Prize was awarded to Burt Rutan for SpaceShipOne, the first private, reusable spacecraft. The foundation now aims to change deep ocean exploration by inspiring companies to develop technologies that will “significantly increase our ability to explore, gather information, and map the ocean’s depths”.
How awesome is that?

If we could get Bruce Bateman to take a break from leaving anonymous comments on the Saipan blogosphere, the Marianas Visitors Authority might actually be able to capitalize on this.

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