The biggest deep sea exploration news in 50 years?

Folks, it’s on!  Some of you may know of the “race to the bottom”, a confluence of several missions aimed at returning humans to the deepest part of the oceans, the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, south of Guam.  The teams include one sponsored by Richard Branson, one from Sylvia Earle’s sub company DOER, the Triton mission and one sponsored and led by movie maker and documentarian James Cameron.  Read more about it in BBC’s excellent coverage here (their diagram originally had a big question mark next to Cameron’s design, but not anymore!).  The big news: Cameron announced today that not only is their sub complete but that the expedition has started and that over the next weeks they will try for the bottom in his startling new submersible.  His sub is unusual in that it is a vertical design rather like the conning tower on a naval submarine, only without the submarine, an upright cylinder that will drop to the bottom like a mangrove seed and remain upright while Cameron, the only passenger, peers out a window at the bottom, illuminated with an 8 foot bank of floodlights.

Here it is in his own words:

This is incredibly exciting news for anyone entranced by deep sea exploration and thrilled at the prospects of humans returning to the deepest place on earth after 52 years (Walsh and Piccard were the only folks to ever do it, in 1960).  My pulse is racing just thinking about it.  Our best wishes for a successful mission and watch this space for more news!

para_sight (139 Posts)

Dr. Alistair Dove is a systematic and ecological parasitologist by training, with broader research interests in the natural history and health of marine animals, especially whale sharks. He is currently Director of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta USA. His comments here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Georgia Aquarium





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11 comments on “The biggest deep sea exploration news in 50 years?
  1. This is some exciting stuff. I’m all for space exploration, but deep sea is way more exciting.

  2. I’m surprised someone hasn’t chimed in with the pessimistic “Why spend all that money to go to the (insert inhospitable destination here) when we’ve got all these problems to solve right here?

    Answer: Not just because it’s there, or because we can. We redefine ourselves by doing the difficult things, just as JFK said when he announced plans to go to the moon. And that’s why we do these things, because if we don’t, we’ve placed one foot firmly in the grave. And that’s a real waste and one that should never be tolerated.

  3. Why spend all that money to go to the Marianas Trench when we’ve got all these problems to solve right here?

    JUST KIDDING. Good for James Cameron – exciting to know he may see things no human has seen before.

  4. I have to admit this has got me on the edge of my seat! 8 years before I was born (to the day) till now to put human eyes on the bottom! Time with a bank of lights, video, photo. And we can follow along!

  5. Wow! Amazing endeavour, and great success. Now for more exploration, right?! Cheers to James Cameron and his support team.

  6. This is awesome, but I really hope he doesn’t sully the reverence of the deep sea by using the footage in Avatar 2

  7. Wow, so when exactly did Luc Piccard do this? It wasn’t in any of the films. lol

    Pretty cool trip in the interest of science. Good Science = Mega Bucks

  8. Pingback: What the deep seas tell us about life on other planets « Lifeofxen – Blog all about.

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