Jacques Piccard was an ocean explorer famous for being one of the first to venture into the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the ocean and the lowest point on the Earth's crust. Piccard developed a specially reinforced bathyscape called Trieste for the journey. Along with his partner, Don Walsh of the United States Navy, he reached a depth of 35,800 feet beneath the sea.Continue Reading
While the Challenger Deep mission was an impressive achievement, it ultimately proved to be an expensive and relatively useless one. The Trieste carried no scientific equipment and was not capable of taking pictures. Piccard made the trip simply to determine whether humans could reach the bottom of the trench. While the vessel descended and returned safely, the windows began to crack under the extreme pressure. Piccard called a halt to their stay on the bottom after only 20 minutes, and began the return to the surface.
Later in his career, Piccard took part in a six-man survey of the ocean floor off the eastern coast of the United States. In the submersible Ben Franklin, he and his crew descended to the ocean floor off the coast of Florida, surfacing four weeks later off the coast of Maine. While submerged, the crew performed a detailed sonographic survey of the continental shelf. They also performed underwater acoustic experiments.Learn more about Earth Science