James Cameron, the film maker who brought us Avatar, Titanic, The Terminator, and, fittingly, The Abyss. is about to embark on a journey to the real abyss.
Cameron is preparing for an attempt to be first human being in 50 years to visit the deepest point on Earth – the bottom of the Mariana Trench, seven miles down in the Pacific.
The Mariana Trench.
He’s going to go there solo, and has already set the world record for solo diving in tests:
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.
Cameron hopes to achieve something that was not possible 50 years ago. He hopes to return with real life monsters from the deep and soil samples.
“When you’re making a movie, everybody’s read the script and they know what’s going to happen next, when you’re on an expedition, nature hasn’t read the script, the ocean hasn’t read the script, and no one knows what’s going to happen next”, said Cameron.
Cameron, 57, said he hopes the project will help answer some surprisingly basic scientific questions about ocean trenches, such as whether fish can live in the sea’s deepest reaches.
“We’re gonna go down there with our cameras, our lights, and find the answers to some of those questions,” Cameron said.
About planet’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench:
Map courtesy National Geographic Maps East of the Mariana Islands is the deepest gash on the planet’s surface, the Mariana Trench (shown here in dark blue), which formed where the Pacific Ocean collides and dives under the Philippine Plate. The Challenger Deep is near the southern end.
Located in the western Pacific east of the Philippines and 62 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of the U.S. territory of Guam, the Mariana Trench is a crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust that measures more than 1,500 miles (2,550 kilometers) long and 43 miles (69 kilometers) wide on average. The distance between the surface of the ocean and the trench’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep, is nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers). If Mount Everest were dropped into the Mariana Trench, its peak would still be more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) underwater.
The Mariana Trench is part of a global network of deep troughs that cut across the ocean floor. They form when two tectonic plates collide. At the collision point, one of the plates dives beneath the other into the Earth’s mantle, creating an ocean trench.
The depths of the Mariana Trench were first plumbed in 1875 by the British ship H.M.S. Challenger as part of the first global oceanographic cruise. The Challenger scientists recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms (about five miles, or eight kilometers) using a weighted sounding rope. In 1951, the British vessel H.M.S. Challenger IIreturned to the spot with an echo-sounder and measured a depth of nearly seven miles (11 kilometers).
Because of its extreme depth, the Mariana Trench is cloaked in perpetual darkness and the temperature is just a few degrees above freezing. The water pressure at the bottom of the trench is a crushing eight tons per square inch—or about a thousand times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. Pressure increases with depth.
The first and only time humans descended into the Challenger Deep was more than 50 years ago. In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Navy Lt. Don Walsh reached this goal in a U.S. Navy submersible, a bathyscaphe called the Trieste. After a five-hour descent, the pair spent only a scant 20 minutes at the bottom and were unable to take any photographs due to clouds of silt stirred up by their passage.
Until Piccard and Walsh’s historic dive, scientists had debated whether life could exist under such extreme pressure. But at the bottom, the Trieste‘s floodlight illuminated a creature that Piccard thought was a flatfish, a moment that Piccard would later describe with excitement in a book about his journey.
“Here, in an instant, was the answer that biologists had asked for the decades,” Piccard wrote. “Could life exist in the greatest depths of the ocean? It could!”
WAITING IN THE DEEP
Watch Video: These creatures were filmed in the deep sea between 1000/5000 meters deep:
More information and latest news about this amazing project:
Source: deepseachallenge.com Cameron