James Cameron Now at Oceans Deepest Point !
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By National Geographic
for National Geographic News
Published 6 p.m. ET, March 25, 2012
As of 5:52 p.m. ET Sunday (7:52 a.m. Monday, local time), James Cameron has arrived at the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep, members of the National Geographic expedition have confirmed.
His depth on arrival: 35,756 feet (10,898 meters)—a figure unattainable anywhere else in the ocean.
bottom, the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker typed out
welcome words for the cheering support crew waiting at the surface: "All
systems OK."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.After as long as six hours in the trench, Cameron—best known for creating fictional worlds on film (Avatar, Titanic, The Abyss)—is to jettison steel weights attached to the sub and shoot back to the surface. (See pictures of Cameron's sub.)
Meanwhile, the expedition's scientific support team awaits his return aboard the research ships Mermaid Sapphire and Barakuda, 7 miles (11 kilometers) up. (Video: how sound revealed that Challenger Deep is the deepest spot in the ocean.)
"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.
"People have worked for months or years in a very intensive way to get to this point," said Bartlett, chief scientist for the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE program, a partnership with the National Geographic Society and Rolex. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)
think people are ready," added Bartlett, of the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography in San Diego, California. "They want to get there, and they
want to see this happen."
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