James Cameron Goes Seven Miles Deep

“Avatar” and “Titanic” director James Cameron has announced that he will attempt to reach the world’s deepest point, the Mariana Trench, nearly 7 miles (11.2 km) beneath the ocean’s surface, in the coming weeks according to The Associated Press.

Cameron’s historic “Deepsea Challenge” expedition will be the first extensive scientific exploration by a manned vehicle to the Mariana Trench’s lowest point, the “Challenger Deep.” Cameron plans to spend six hours at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean trench to collect samples for research in marine biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics.

Successful field tests were completed this week off the coast of Papua New Guinea including an untethered deep-water dive to a depth of more than five miles in the revolutionary, single-pilot Deepsea Challenger submersible, the result of an eight-year engineering effort and the deepest-diving manned marine vehicle in existence.

The Challenger Deep has only been reached once before in a manned descent back in 1960 by the bathyscaphe Trieste. The two men inside spent approximately 20 minutes on the ocean floor before returning to the surface.