Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea

13 Mar

James Cameron, a film-maker by profession and an explorer by nature, is going deep. Very deep. Sometime in the coming weeks he'll squeeze into a one-man submersible and dive to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the world's oceans. Located in the Mariana Trench, it is almost seven miles down (significantly deeper than Everest is high). It's another world.

Here's Nat Geo on the mission:

Just Tuesday, during testing offPapua New Guinea, Cameron dived deeper than any other human has on a solo mission. Now he aims to become the first human to visit the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep in more than 50 years—and to return with animals, images, and data that were unthinkable in 1960.

That year the two-person crew of the U.S. Navy submersible Trieste—still the only humans to have reached Challenger Deep—spent only 20 minutes at the bottom, their view obscured by silt stirred up by the landing (more on the Triestedive).

By contrast, the Cameron-designed DEEPSEA CHALLENGER sub is expected to allow the explorer to spend about six hours on the seafloor. During that time he plans to collect samples and film the whole affair with multiple 3-D, high-definition cameras and an 8-foot-tall (2.4-meter-tall) array of LED lights.

Already the tech-laden sub has taken Cameron a record-breaking 5.1 miles (8.2 kilometers) straight down. That Tuesday dress rehearsal for Mariana made the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER the deepest-diving submersible in operation and the deepest-diving single-pilot sub in history.

Designed to sink strangely—and efficiently—upright, the 24-foot-tall (7-meter-tall) craft was eight years in the making. Among its advances is a specially designed foam that helps allow the new sub to weigh in at 12 metric tons, making it some 12 times lighter than the Trieste.

Here's what the two subs would have looked like side by side (more pics of the Deepsea Challenger here):

And here's a video about the Cameron and the expedition. Wild, Jules-Verne, stuff. Hope it goes well:

 

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