Explorer Richard Garriott made history today by diving to the deepest place on the planet and returning safely.

The trip to the 36,000ft depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean took years to plan.

British-born Richard, 59, became the first person to have flown in space, been to both the North and South Poles and now reach the bottom of the world.

He spent 12 hours underwater taking a pack of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles to keep him going.

Hoping to inspire a new generation of explorers, he also took pictures drawn by young Mirror readers with him on his adventure.

The submersible being used by Richard Garriott
The submersible being used by Richard Garriott

After his journey he simply said: “Back on the surface! Great dive," in a Whatsapp message to the Daily Mirror.

Mission leaders said the dive had been a “great success” and more information would be revealed in the coming days once Garriott had fully recovered from the gruelling dive.

His British designed submersible spent 12 hours underwater returning to the mothership this morning.

Earlier he spoke of his delight and honour at taking the Mirror pics down with him and his partnership with schools up and down the country.

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He said: “They were just brilliant and I hope that the fact these young Mirror readers know their drawings and posters have been to the deepest part of the planet will inspire them in the future.”

As an astronaut he visited the International Space Station in 2008.

Heather MacRae, CEO of Ideas Foundation said yesterday: “It was great to see Richard sharing his dive to the deep with teachers across the UK.

“Hundreds of children are being inspired to see how creativity and curiosity can lead you to new perspectives.”

Garriott, 59, took with him a pack of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles to help sustain him during the dive.