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An explorer is going to be the first British born astronaut to travel in space and then go to the bottom of the planet’s deepest ocean.

Richard Garriott will become only the 14th person alive to go to the depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

A total of 5,000 people have climbed Mount Everest to reach the very top of the world– but so many fewer have gone to the bottom of the world.

And for Richard it will be an impressive “double” after he flew to the International Space Station in 2008.

And when he travels down to the Mariana Trench he will be taking something very special with him .

It’s all part of Richard’s dream of inspiring youngsters to think about how best to protect the planet.

He is an extraordinary man who took Stephen Hawking on a zero gravity flight and secretly smuggled ashes of Star Trek legend “Scotty” – actor James Doohan – up on to the ISS.

He said: “Later this month I’m going to the deepest part of the planet and I’m very excited about it.

“And I’m really pleased I will be taking pictures drawn by Mirror readers to the deepest place on Earth.”

Richard, 59, who was born in Cambridge has also been to both the North and South Poles.

On his trip he will wear exactly the same suit – with the union jack and the stars and stripes on the front – that he wore into space.

His trip will take 12 hours in a specially constructed submersible – four hours to descend, four hours for research and four hours to ascend back to the “mother ship.”

He said: “It’s going to be pretty hard to beat space.

“The view of the earth from space is truly life changin.

“There is something called the overview effect which is literally a life-changing experience most people who orbit the earth have had – and I have that too.

“While the view from a port-hole viewport from the submersible will only be as far as the lighting will provide you.

“It will be like looking at the moon but when you’re only ten feet above the surface of it just looking at the rocks and bumps and dust – not the big picture of the whole thing.

“It’s going to be a very different kind of experience.”

Richard has been to the North and South Poles and has been down to the wreck of the Titanic.

His father was an astronaut and he hopes his two children will follow in their footsteps.

“My two children Kinga, eight and Ronin, six weren’t alive when I went into space,” he said.

“But I’ve made them watch the launches!”

He recalled his birth in the UK and an unforgettable flight with Stephen Hawking.

He said: “My father had a year’s sabbatical at Cambridge and that’s where I was born.

“In those days the birth was at home so I was born at 59 Highworth Avenue – just a few streets from where Stephen Hawking lived.

“I took Stephen up on a zero gravity flight. It was an incredible experience.

“Our mantra for the day was: ‘We can’t kill Stephen Hawking!’

“But he loved it, We did one parabola and that was going to be it.

“But he asked for one more then more then another. We ended up doing ten.”

And he recalled taking some of the ashes of James Doohan to space.

He said he was allowed a last item to take.

“I had a stack of business cards, which I was permitted to take in my flight data files.

“I told them that IF they could get cards to me with his ashes, I would include them in this final payload.”

Three arrived which he took up.

“One I returned to earth as a gift to James Doohan’s son Chris.

“A second I placed outside the hatch of the Soyuz Descent Module, such that when we separated for reentry, ‘Scotty’ would go on a spacewalk.

“The final card remains aboard the ISS.”

Back to his dive.

He said: “We are hoping, indeed expecting, to bring unique microbes and fish and other species to the world which have never been seen before.”

All the data collected will be put into the public domain for free.

He added: “It will be a gift to the world.”

The incredible submersible which will take Richard Garriott to the foot of the ocean was designed by two Brits who have been friends since they met as teenagers in a rural Lincolnshire village.

John Ramsay, 40, and Tom Blades, 37, became pals fooling around making videos and doing a series of holiday jobs together.

Now they are they are regarded as world pioneers in the submarine business and designed the submersible for this project.

They are based in Devon and are the principal designers and engineers for the US company Triton who were selected to construct the submersible.

John said: “This particular submersible was not just designed to take someone to the bottom of the ocean and set a world record.

“The idea was to make a submersible that wasn’t an experiment – this would have a legacy going on for years completing science and exploring the ocean.

“We had a two year build programme to make this certified full ocean depth diving two passenger submersible.

“It had never been done before.”

John explained how their partnership started.

He said: “Tom and I met when we moved to my home village in Lincolnshire when we were in our very early teens and we started mucking around making stuff .

“And now over 25 years on we have collaborated on some incredible projects together – we have been so lucky.

“When you know someone that well that is no need for pleasantries when we are designing stuff we don’t pussyfoot around each other.

“There is a huge amount of British involvement in this project.

“What I am always staggered at is how incredibly capable British people and companies are when it comes to doing something different or out of the ordinary.

“Working with British companies is always such a pleasure.

“I love it.”

A US company called Caladan Oceanic contracted Triton to build the submersible as part of a multi million pound project to explore the world’s oceans.