James Cameron goes deep, hits bottom
Director James Cameron is one for setting records, and the one he set today has nothing to do with the box office (yet).
Earlier today he tweeted from the deepest depths (35,756 feet, to be exact) of the deep blue sea, where he is currently sitting in a specially crafted submersible at Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. While thousands have reached our planet's highest peak, very few have reached its absolute depth and Cameron is the first to do it solo. When he finally reached bottom, the filmmaker typed out the following welcome words for the support crew waiting at the surface: "All systems OK."
The photo below (from National Geographic) was taken at around 2:00 am local time on Monday, and shows the submersible vehicle (with Cameron inside) as it's being lowered into the ocean.
"I'm going to attempt to rendezvous with that vehicle so I can observe animals that are attracted to the chemical signature of its bait," said Cameron of his first target upon arrival, a phone booth-like unmanned "lander" dropped into the trench hours before his dive.
No one really knows what, exactly, Cameron is seeing from his remarkable vantage point. "If we get lucky," Cameron said, "we should find something like a cold seep, where we might find tube worms." According to National Geographic, cold seeps are "regions of the ocean floor somewhat like hydrothermal vents (video) that ooze fluid chemicals at the same temperature as the surrounding water."
More from National Geographic:
Folded into a sub cockpit as cramped as any Apollo capsule, the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker is now investigating a seascape more alien to humans than the moon. Cameron is only the third person to reach this Pacific Ocean valley southwest of Guam (map)—and the only one to do so solo.
Hovering in what he's called a vertical torpedo, Cameron is likely collecting data, specimens, and imagery unthinkable in 1960, when the only other explorers to reach Challenger Deep returned after seeing little more than the silt stirred up by their bathyscaphe.
"We're now a band of brothers and sisters that have been through this for a while," marine biologist Doug Bartlett told National Geographic News from the ship before the dive.
Source National Geographic
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