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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 26-foot-tall (8-meter-tall) craft was eight years in the making. Among its advances is a specially designed foam that helps allows the new sub to weigh in at 12 metric tons, making it some 12 times lighter than Trieste.
Despite its innovations, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER‘s spherical steel cockpit just barely accommodates its single occupant—in this case, Cameron, the man behind Avatar, Titanic, The Terminator, and, fittingly, The Abyss.
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.
With a folding robotic arm, he’ll be able to collect rocks, animals, and seafloor core samples for later study on the surface.
At Challenger Deep, the trench plummets 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) down—if Mount Everest were dropped here, its summit would be more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) underwater.
Before Cameron’s dive, the team also plans to send unmanned “landers” to the trench bottom. Resembling skinny phone booths, the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall), camera-equipped submersibles will carry bait to lure sea creatures into plastic cylinders, which can be retrieved by the team when the landers surface.
“The animals on the inside are captured” and even after ascent, “still cold, still under pressure,” Kevin Hardy, senior development engineer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and a member of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team, told National Geographic.
Hardy predicts some of the specimens will be “totally alien” to scientists. “If you can imagine a wild animal, you’ll find it down there.”
Already, “science fiction is mimicking what we see for real in the deep ocean,” he added. “And we haven’t seen it all yet. There’s a ‘continent’ we haven’t explored down there.”
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.
During the expected six-hour sea-bottom sojourn, Cameron will be able to use the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER‘s 12 propeller-driven thrusters to move up and down and side to side and to hover in place.
The sub will actually shrink by about 2.5 inches (6.3 centimeters) during the descent.
Canadian film director James Cameron is gathering a team of engineers to build a submersible that can visit the Pacific’s Mariana Trench, the ocean’s deepest point, to gather footage for the sequel to his blockbuster 2009 movie Avatar. Only one other team has ever visited the Mariana Trench: Captain Don Walsh, a US Navy submariner, and Jacques Piccard, a Swiss engineer, who descended for five hours in a steel submersible called the Trieste in January 1960. No one has ever tried to repreat the descent, until now. Cameron’s vessel is reportedly being assembled in Australia and tests on the hull are already completed; a trial dive might occur later this year. Cameron’s engineers are studying the Trieste’s descent, in which—less than an hour into it, at a depth of 4,200 feet—a dribble of water appeared on the wall. Another leak was sprung at 18,000 feet, which sealed itself again, and at 32,400 feet (deeper than Mount Everest is high) there was a crack and the vessel’s cabin shook. But they made it.
Why do I have a bad feeling about this?
Originally posted by GeminiTwin
Wow! This is very fascinating! Who knew Cameron was a scientist, too! I will definitely be following this! Thanks for sharing.
Originally posted by gigaherc
reply to post by pianopraze
Seriously, you have to be a real moron if you don't appreciate Cameron. He's one of the greatest directors of all time, I would list him among Scorsese, De Palma, Nolan and many others. Mainly because of his passion he brings to the big screens. He makes popcorn blockbusters, yes I am aware of it, however his bloated special effects baroque operas always have souls, bring important messages (according to his views, what can be agruable) and what is more important are almost always landmarks in moviemaking technologies.
Just look at Zemeckis. He's clearly lost it. Bact to the Future, Forrest Gump, and then he dwelves in CGI movies introducing characters with soulless fish eyes and robotic moves (Polar Express, Mar Needs Moms - huge bo disaster).
Cameron is of a different mold, he adapts new tchnologies for his vision. Avatar divided people - some claimed it is Pocahontas in space, others it's a masterpiece, but still - Abbys, Terminators, True Lies, Titanic, Aliens - all were landmarks in their genres. Movie buffs interested in moviemaking know the background and his unusual, almost psychotic attention to detail, which makes his movies Kubrickian in these terms.
Today, in the time of Transformers and Twilight ruling the box office I shed a tear for the moment I saw T-1000 pushing through the bars in the looney bin Sarah Connor was in. I was 12 with my mom in the cinema and the awe i felt was comparable only to the one I felt in a few moments of Avatar, and the other 'oldies' like Jurassic Park.
Adding his passion to explore the oceans, still so secret and unknown, while we reach far into space, I truly admire the guy.
Michael Bay should take a lesson.