Only three people have explored the deep oceans. Meet the next two

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Some of Earth’s greatest unknowns lie miles underwater within the trenches of the seafloor. More people have visited the moon than the deep oceans. Just three — oceanographers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, and filmmaker James Cameron — have reached the depths, where darkness seems to swallow everything and pressure exceeds 800 times that felt at sea level.

But two more explorers may soon join their ranks. If their submarine holds true, they may even exceed the accomplishments of their predecessors.

In a new mission called Five Deeps, Wall Street Investor Victor Vescovo and scientist Alan Jamieson aim to explore these inhospitable places. They’ll use 3D sonar to map the seafloor and on-board instruments to collect samples along the way. The explorers aim to traverse 40,000 nautical miles over the course of a year, descending through more than 236,000 feet of water, and, for the first time, reaching the bottom of the world’s five oceans.

The journey will be undertaken in a Triton 36000 submarine — a $48-million-dollar, two-seater vessel called Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Limiting Factor. Vescovo will initiate the expedition alone in December.

We asked Vescovo and Jamieson about their mission and what they hope to gain from the expedition. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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