Director James Cameron’s newest venture is quite a departure from the blockbuster films he’s known for making. On Wednesday, Cameron manned a solo mission in a 43-inch-wide submersible craft five miles down into the New Britain Trench off Papua New Guinea, breaking the modern vehicle world depth record by a full mile.
Not content at just that, Cameron is planning another solo mission, this time seven miles into the Challenger Deep. The Challenger Deep is one of the most difficult to reach places on the planet, filled with odd-looking eels, worms, fish, and crustaceans. While down there, Cameron plans to film these strange creatures and procure samples using a slurp gun. From this footage, Cameron plans to create two films: a 3-D film for wide-screen theaters and a National Geographic TV special.
Cameron is an explorer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society, which is helping fund the exploration. Emphasizing his focus on scientific discovery and advancement, Cameron plans to collect samples to be used for research in biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics.
Not for the faint of heart, submersible exploration can be very dangerous. Of the risks, Cameron said, “you’d be an idiot not to be apprehensive, but I trust the design.” Already, his crew has lost two members, Mike deGruy and Andrew Wight, during a helicopter crash in Sydney, Australia, causing Cameron to doubt the mission itself. Ultimately, he and his crew decided to go through with it. “The team rallied,” says Cameron.
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