RICHMOND, Calif. -- It's been more than 50 years since humanity ventured to the deepest place on Earth, but four crews now are racing to make a return trip.
One of the futuristic crafts in the works comes courtesy of Graham Hawkes. For years his minisubmarine, which resembles an underwater fighter jet, has sat in a bare concrete room in Point Richmond, Calif.
This fall, it is destined for a muddy gorge in the Mariana Trench, the world's deepest known point, 36,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean near Guam.
Hawkes is in good company in the pursuit of what many think will be the next big thing in human exploration: manned submersibles that can maneuver through the crushing pressure at the bottom of the world.