Dayton-area adventurer to explore deepest ocean depths

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Thomas Gnau, Dayton Daily News, Ohio
·2 min read
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Apr. 7—Ever-restless local real estate investor Larry Connor is already eyeing his next adventure: A trip to the deepest depths of the oceans.

Connor, managing partner of the Connor Group, will partner this month with EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic to explore the Challenger Deep and the Sirena Deep in the Mariana Trench, beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean near Guam

His company says the two planned expeditions will make Connor the third person to travel to what a release Wednesday called "both inner and outer space."

The trip to the "hadal zone," 20,000 feet beneath the waves, is "considered the last frontier of exploration on Earth," the company said.

One of the planned trips aims for a depth of 35,856 feet, using the deep-water exploration facility the Hadal Exploration System.

One other mission has traveled to the bottom of the Sirena Deep in the Mariana Trench; Connor's dive will be the second, his company said.

"I'm honored to be among that group," Connor said in Wednesday's announcement. "More importantly, I'm thrilled to be part of this expedition and have the opportunity to conduct valuable scientific research."

If Connor's name is familiar, there may be good reasons. Just in January, Axiom Space, a private aerospace company based in Houston, announced on "Good Morning America" that Connor will be a pilot for a four-man, multi-national crew set to launch next January from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the International Space Station.

There may be another reason: Connor leads Miami Twp.-based Connor Group, a company focused on finding apartment properties nationwide that company leaders believe are poised for future appreciation and ripe for investment. They acquire the properties, focusing on improvements, then sell them when the time is right.

Founded in 1992, the company today has $3.3 billion in assets.

The deep sea missions will be piloted by Patrick Lahey, chief executive and owner of Florida's Triton Submarines. Expedition leader Rob McCallum is the primary mission planner.

"Connor's mission will be a first in some respects," McCallum said in the Connor Group's announcement "He will be the first to travel to the depths of both the Challenger and Sirena Deeps and then travel to the International Space Station."

During both dives, the goal is to gather scientific samples and survey the depths of the ocean.