The Mariana Trench got its first visitor in 52 years yesterday, James Cameron. The filmmaker is the first person to make a solo dive to a portion on the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench known as “Challenge Deep” – the ocean’s deepest point.
Cameron descended into the Mariana Trench on a specially designed submersible named “Deepsea Challenger,” descending 35, 756 feet down before spending three hours filming and taking samples before returning to the surface.
In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard dived into the Mariana Trench but saw very little beyond the mud they stirred up upon their arrival at the bottom.
This time, Cameron, along with the National Geographic Society and Rolex, were better prepared and loaded the Deepsea Challenger with multiple 3D cameras, an eight-foot LED tower for illumination, a robotic claw and a “slurp gun” for capturing small undersea creatures in the Mariana Trench.
The dive was part of Deepsea Challenge, a joint scientific expedition to conduct deep-ocean research and exploration.
"This journey is the culmination of more than seven years of planning for me and the amazing DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition team," said Cameron in a statement from National Geographic. "Most importantly, though, is the significance of pushing the boundaries of where humans can go, what they can see and how they can interpret it. Without the support of National Geographic and Rolex, and their unwavering belief that we could successfully make it to the deepest point in the ocean -- and back -- this would not have happened."
According to the statement, “The DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition is being chronicled for a 3-D feature film for theatrical release on the intensive technological and scientific efforts behind this historic dive -- which will subsequently be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel -- and is being documented for National Geographic magazine. Cameron also will collaborate with National Geographic to create broad-based educational outreach materials.”