Dr. Deo Florence Onda, a microbial oceanographer from the University of the Philippine Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), will be one of the first humans,and the very first Filipino, to reach the 3rd deepest spot on Earth.

In a press release last Wednesday, UPMSI announced that Dr. Onda had been invited by Caladan Oceanic, a private firm, to participate in the Emden Deep Expedition, which will happen from March 22 to 28, 2021.

As per UPMSI, deep-sea expeditions such as this are equivalent to first flights into outer space. This may result in “major record-setting scientific and historic achievement.”

Most expedition records are held by foreign explorers and scientists, making Dr. Onda one of the first Filipinos to have one.

The destination is in the Philippine Trench, found within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This is why it’s just appropriate to have a Filipino scientist onboard.

Dr. Onda will be joined by Victor Vescovo, a record holder who led the Marianas Trench’s descent back in 2019 — a project also by Caladan Oceanic, who is known for setting records in deep-sea explorations.

The expedition that Dr. Onda will be joining will use the DSSV Pressure Drop, the only vessel in the world that can accomplish such a feat.

Dr. Onda has been inside the vessel since March 15, which will travel from Guam to the Philippine Trench. The project has been coordinated with the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs and referred to as a non-marine scientific research activity.

One of their main goals is to wave the Philippine flag once it reaches its destination, which highlighting the trench’s integral part of the nation’s heritage.

As the only Filipino onboard, Dr. Onda will be given a chance to check out top-caliber vessels and have enriched experiences and knowledge that he can share with colleagues as the country build its National Academic Research Fleet.

The Philippine Trench, also known as the Mindanao Trench, is about 10,500 meters deep. In comparison, Marianas Trench is about 11,000 meters deep.

Via: CNN Philippines

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