WHOI researcher dives to Challenger Deep

Ying-Tsong Lin is the 12th person in history and the first person of Asian descent to visit ocean’s deepest seafloor



A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researcher became one of just a handful of people to visit the deepest part of the ocean following a successful dive in the deep-submergence vehicle Limiting Factor on Monday.

Ying-Tsong “Y.T.” Lin, a scientist with WHOI’s Ocean Acoustics & Signals Lab, traveled to the central pool of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, a depth of 10.9 kilometers (6.8 miles), with Victor Vescovo, the pilot and founder of Caladan Oceanic. As a Taiwanese-American, Dr. Lin’s dive marked the first time a person of Asian descent had traveled to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. This record-setting dive was among a series of history-making expeditions that Vescovo piloted this month, including dives by the first woman, former astronaut Kathy Sullivan, and by Kelly Walsh, the son of Don Walsh, who, with Jacques Piccard, made the first-ever dive to the Mariana Trench in 1960.

“The sub Limiting Factor is a space-time capsule bringing us to another world, which has not been touched for millions years,” Dr. Lin wrote in an email from the ship following his 10-hour dive. “Looking at the sand waves on the bottom of the world, thinking how long it took for the weak currents at that depth to build them up, space and time just collapsed; I was watching a million years of evolution in just an instant. What I saw down there makes me feel how insignificant I am. I would like to share this opportunity to understand life better with all my friends and colleagues who helped make it possible.”

As part of Caladan Oceanic’s multidisciplinary Ring of Fire expedition, Dr. Lin is conducting an acoustic experiment aboard the submersible’s support ship, Pressure Drop, to determine how sound waves propagate in the deepest parts of the ocean. Because of the pressure at extreme depths, the increased density of water causes changes in the speed of sound, which need to be carefully accounted for to ensure the accuracy of deep-water acoustic instruments.

With a specialized hydrophone recorder provided by the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory deployed in Challenger Deep, Dr. Lin successfully recorded ambient sound as well as acoustic signals transmitted from an underwater speaker deployed near the ocean surface from the ship. In addition to improving scientists’ understanding of how sound refracts in the deep ocean, Dr. Lin’s shipboard experiments will provide greater clarity on how acoustic communication and geo-location could be improved at extreme depths.

“We are so pleased to have partnered with Y.-T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on this dive and showing the access we can provide to any individual who wants to regularly and reliably visit any point on the ocean floor,” said Vescovo after the dive.

Dr. Lin is the first WHOI scientist to visit Challenger Deep in-person, but the institution has a history of conducting research at the ocean’s greatest depths. In 2009, WHOI scientists and engineers sent the hybrid remotely operated vehicle Nereus to Challenger Deep, making it just the third vehicle in history to reach a depth of over 10,900 meters. In addition, following James Cameron’s solo dive to Challenger Deep in 2012, the Canadian explorer and director donated his submersible DeepSea Challenger to WHOI so that engineers could document and redeploy some of the technology he and his team developed. These technologies have been incorporated into the autonomous underwater vehicle Orpheus, currently awaiting deep-sea trials.

At WHOI, Dr. Lin is best known for his work on three-dimensional ocean acoustic technologies that help scientists explore the ocean through sound. He lives in Falmouth, Mass., with his wife and sons.


· Dr. Ying-Tsong Lin is the 12th person in history, as well as the first Taiwanese-American and the first person of Asian descent to travel to the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep.

· Dr. Lin and pilot Victor Vescovo visited the central pool of the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 10.9 kilometers (6.8 miles) aboard the deep-submergence vehicle Limiting Factor.

· Dr. Lin is an acoustic scientist who is studying how sound propagates in the ocean. · The research conducted during the dive, and in Dr. Lin’s shipboard experiments, will lead to increased understanding of sound refraction in the ocean and how acoustic communication and geo-location may be improved at extreme ocean depths

47 thoughts on “WHOI researcher dives to Challenger Deep

  1. What the hell has ethnicity got to do with anything?

    Can we just stop all the race BS, go ‘colour blind’ and just be people. I am getting sick of it all.

      • +200%

        All this woke-signalling is both irritating and distracting from a clever man’s achievements.

        • Exactly. We have a name to distinguish the man from other people. We have a sex because male and female are significant, fundamental in the natural order. We have his achievement, a personal effort and reward, let’s celebrate the man and his work to further human development. There is no need to indulge diversitist thought and practice, where the judgment and labels are of low information attributes.

        • If I were he, I would be very frustrated that I couldn’t just be a scientist, I have to be a Taiwanese-American (not quite FULL-American) scientist in the media’s perspective.
          I think Obama’s years brought ethnic elitism to the forefront and suppressed the very ideals of Abraham Lincoln that all individuals are created equal, and share common rights and RESPONSIBILITIES in society.

    • +1 Matt_S

      · Dr. Ying-Tsong Lin is the 12th person in history, as well as the first Taiwanese-American and the first person of Asian descent to travel to the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep.

      …. who in their right mind gives a rat’s @rse about the continent the dude comes from.

      The 1st person is the important one right? you get some honorable mentions for 2nd and 3rd sometimes, but 12th!

      I suppose he’s not gay otherwise they would have been obliged to tell us that too.

    • Come on WWUT, youare better than this: “the first person of Asian descent to visit ocean’s deepest seafloor”

      The science may be interesting. The identity politics should be ignored.

    • Maybe it’s the Taiwanese angle that’s being played here, to rub ChiCom’s nose in it a bit.

    • Not only diversity (i.e. color judgments), but also 1/2 American. Progress: one step forward, two steps backward.

      • How do you mean 1/2 American?
        If he was born in America he is American. Your nationality depends, usually, on where you were born, although some children may opt for the nationality of their parents. You can have dual nationality sometimes, but you can’t be 1/2 one nationality and 1/2 another, and surely “American” is a nationality.
        Ethnicity is another thing altogether.

    • “person of Asian descent”

      Was he Russian? Israeli? Arab? Indian? Mongolian?

      Can we stop the PC “Asian” BS? Asia covers just about every race there is. What was wrong with Oriental?

    • Rick Sanchez is the 900,000th person in history and the first person of Russian\Polish descent to visit WUWT comment section and leave his opinion while drinking his morning coffee and discussing things with his Wheaten named Murphy

  2. I wonder what the WHOI crew thinks about the idea of burying non-useable nuclear waste in the deepest part of the Marianas Trench? The idea is that since this is a subduction site (oceanic plate diving under another plate) the nuclear waste goes down to lower crust levels and may or may not eventually reappear as a very radioactive volcanic event. Wait, I just talked myself out of the idea. Never mind.

    • Since “eventually” would take several hundred thousand years, the radioactive waste would be completely depleted and highly dispersed in solid rock. Not a bad idea.

      • The heat in the core is radioactively-generated anyway. How high is the level of activity in the core compared to our ‘high-level’ waste?

    • Years ago, I was at a seminar given by Pief Panofsky, who developed the SLAC linear accelerator and was SLAC’s first director.

      He said the best way to dispose of radioactive waste was to drop it into the Marianas Trench. He said it would be so diluted into the oceans that its radiation would disappear into the background.

      But he said the politics of dumping radio-waste there would be so bad, it would never be done.

    • First off, there isn’t any non-usable nuclear waste. There’s just stuff that the environmental nut cases won’t let us use.
      Secondly, it would take millions of years to go from the subduction zone, down to the melting zone, and then back up through a magma chamber to a volcano. By which time any radiation in your package would have degraded to below background level.

      • And third off, dropping radioactive material into the Mariana Trench would, with 100% certainty, cause Megalodon to awaken and come to the surface to wreak havoc on an already havoc-wrought world! As a matter of fact, I’m surprised that Ying-Tsong Lin was able to visit that abyss and return in one piece. I hear that Megalodonsn really like Chinese food.

        We can’t keep taking chances like this!

        • Maybe, but the radioactive waste cause mutations amongst the creatures of the sea, so the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would rescue us.

          Of course, by then, they’d be the Great Grand 10 × 10^42 Grandparent Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  3. “… the first person of Asian descent to visit ocean’s deepest seafloor…”

    Call BLM! African-Americans are being oppressed because they are not allowed to go where white people go!

    There must be a new submersible, designed and built entirely by LGBTQQIAAP workers, and womanned by a differently-abled crew, created to undertake all voyages of undersea discovery in future. Send contributions to me, c/o this Panamanian bank….

    • It would be entertaining to see the first angry trans dive when someone accidentally says “sir.”

      • Transgender/homosexual, bisexual, intersexual, neosexual? Maybe just trans-social, a heterosexual with a feminine style fetish.

        • Apparently Taylor Swift is all upset because transgendered people aren’t being counted in the census.
          She apparently believes that unless there is a transgendered box for them to check, the transgendered are excluded from the census.

      • Transgender? Or Transsexual? The former is just a change in behavior. The latter requires surgery and hormone treatments.

        Ever notice no one says transsexual any more? It’s always “transgender” now, regardless of the reality.

    • BabyLivesMatter? The Progressive Church will be apoplectic, the liberals will fall down behind them, and the so-called “moderates” will divide and fall of the wall.

  4. The heat in the core is radioactively-generated anyway. How high is the level of activity in the core compared to our ‘high-level’ waste?

  5. Fascinating research! I wonder what his aim will be? Considering the location as it is in a trench–perhaps a deeper sonic view of the trench? Should be very interesting to see what comes out of his dive and what he questions furthers his research. You know, real science stuff.

    I too am of the mind that it’s time to start being color blind. Too much focus on differences, not enough on similarities. We are all human beings.

    • According to BLM, the fact that you don’t care about a person’s race, just proves how racist you are. According to the properly woke, when you ignore a person’s ethnicity, you are denying their very existence.

  6. I must apologise to the doctor, for my thoughts about his name. Back in my youth, I was a keen follower of BBC radio’s “Highly Esteemed Goon Show”. Anyone from the UK, who will by now be in their seventies, will remember a certain song by the performers…

  7. I think this wa an illustration of the identity politics tha thas infected the society like the Covid virus.
    Heck what he’s done is real science. His ethnic identity is irrelevant..

  8. If all they are after is science, wouldn’t remotely operated vehicles be much more cost effective?

    • Indeed. Seems like many more devices could be lowered to the bottom if sustaining life were not part of the requirement.
      Of course the all of the devices would need to be of proper racial and ethnic origin and representation.

  9. From the article: “At WHOI, Dr. Lin is best known for his work on three-dimensional ocean acoustic technologies that help scientists explore the ocean through sound.”

    I really enjoy those “Drain the Ocean” programs National Geographic puts on. It’s amazing the things they can learn about the past with sonar.

    And congratulations to former American astronaut Kathy Sullivan. She went from the space station in low-Earth orbit, to the deepest part of the Earth’s ocean. What’s next, Kathy? 🙂

  10. So do we need to call out Everyone’s ethnicity? Irish-American, Italian-American, Franco-America, German-American….ad nauseum? PLEASE STOP IT!

  11. old engineer, “when you realize WHOI is in California…”. WHOI is in Massachusetts!

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