Russian scientists are getting ready to explore the depths of Lake Baikal, a unique ecosystem and the deepest lake in the world.
The expedition is being organised by Artur Chilingarov, a pro-Kremlin member of parliament and an Arctic explorer who led the team of scientists that planted a flag at the bottom of the North Pole in August last year.
The bottom of Lake Baikal at 1,600 metres has never been explored, with previous missions only going down hundreds of metres.
Scientists will collect samples at different depths and hope to document the effects of global warming on the lake.
The mission to Lake Baikal — a UN World Heritage site — will begin on July 29 and will carry out dozens of dives by the Mir-1 and Mir-2 mini-submarines. The mission is being funded by environmental organisations.
Lake Baikal contains around a fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves.