When James Cameron isn’t making sci-fi, horror, and action blockbusters, or movies that destroy box office records and then movies to destroy those box office records, he enjoys going on deep sea expeditions…as is a hobby for many of us.
Cameron, who was named an honorary National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence in 2011, has visited Titanic and observed the aliens of the deep, but now he plans a historic expedition not yet accomplished by anyone else on our planet.
Next up for the director is the Deepsea Challenge expedition, which will go somewhere man has never gone before: the deepest known point of the deepest part of the whole ocean, the Mariana Trench.
Called the Challenger Deep, this small area is found almost seven MILES under the ocean’s surface at the southern end of the Mariana Trench. Only one other time has a manned submersible reached the location, back in 1960 when U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard were able to make it in the bathyscaphe Trieste, but the duo was only able to spend 20 minutes there before heading back to the surface.
When Cameron attempts the feat sometime in the coming weeks, he’ll do so in a specially engineered single-pilot submersible that took eight years to develop (seen behind him above). It’s the length of a stretch limo, but from where the pilot operates, Cameron’s legs will be bent and he’ll barely be able to move his arms. Not a job for the claustrophobic. If everything goes well, he’ll spend six hours exploring the Challenger Deep, and he’ll document the whole thing in high-resolution 3D to later be turned into a documentary.
Of the ambitious expedition, Cameron said:
“The deep trenches are the last unexplored frontier on our planet, with scientific riches enough to fill a hundred years of exploration.
National Geographic, which has been exploring the world for nearly 125 years, is the ideal partner to help usher in a new era of deep-ocean research and exploration that supports leading scientific institutions in answering questions about the deepest, unexplored parts of the Earth. Our goal is to build a scientific legacy for generations to come. It’s also to inspire people across the globe to celebrate exploration and to explore with us online and through the media we produce.”
Successful tests were completed this week, with the submersible reaching over five miles deep.
As for a deep sea exploration resume, Cameron’s in impressive. He’s led six expeditions, and has personally made 72 deep submersible dives—33 of which were to Titanic (12 while filming his 1997 movie), which is two and a half miles down.
If you’d like to follow the progress of Cameron’s expedition, you can visit the Deepsea Challenge website, like on Facebook, or follow their Twitter account.
[Source: Collider; Image via National Geographic]