Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Hollywood director James Cameron has plunged nearly 11km (seven miles) down to the deepest place in the ocean, the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific.
He made the descent alone in a prototype submarine called “Deepsea Challenger”, taking around two hours to reach the bottom.
Once he reached a depth of 10,898 metres, his first words up to the surface were: “All systems OK.”
His craft is kitted out with cameras and lights so he can film the deep.
This is only the second manned expedition to the ocean’s deepest depths – the first took place in 1960. The earlier descent was made by US Navy Lt Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard…
Before the dive, the Titanic director told the BBC, that making the descent was “the fulfilment of a dream“.
He said: “I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction at a time when people were living a science fiction reality…People were going to the Moon, and Cousteau was exploring the ocean. And that’s what I grew up with, what I valued from my childhood…”
Cameron spent the last few years working in secret with his team of engineers to design and build the craft, which weighs 11 tonnes and is more than 7m long. He describes it as a “vertical torpedo” that slices through the water allowing him a speedy descent.
The tiny compartment that the filmmaker sits in is made from thick steel, which is able to resist the 1,000 atmosphere of pressure he will experience at full ocean depth.
The sub has so many lights and cameras that it is like an underwater TV studio – with Mr Cameron able to direct and film the action from within…It also has robotic arms, allowing him to collect samples of rocks and soils, and a team of researchers are working alongside the director to identify any new species. He says that science is key to his mission.
Bravo, James Cameron! We’re all watching for a safe return.