First man to travel to space and deepest place on Earth to inspire generation

Explorer Richard Garriott has made this video asking the children of Mirror readers to send him their pictures so he can take them to the deepest place on Earth later this month.

Anglo-American Richard will be the first male astronaut to have travelled into space and then go to the bottom of the ocean when he descends to the foot of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

In a project with the Mirror Online and the Daily Mirror he is hoping to inspire youngsters to save the planet.

He said: “This is the most unique competition the Daily Mirror has ever organised.”

Richard, 59, wants pictures, drawings, questions and even short poems sent to him.

He added: “What do young readers think I will see at the bottom of the ocean?

“It could be a magical drawing of the creatures that adapt to the extreme pressure, cold, and darkness.

“I really want to see what they are imagining and answer their questions so they can share in my adventure.”

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 dad-of-two Richard it will be an impressive “double” after he flew to the International Space Station in 2008.

Richard, 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 changing.”

The Mirror has teamed up with Ideas Foundation to organise the competition.

Heather MacRae, CEO at the Foundation, said: “We are very excited to work with the Mirror to get children to be creative in artwork … and questions for Richard.

“And to have their pictures taken to the bottom of the Mariana Trench will be an incredible and memorable achievement for them.”