An expedition to the deepest place on this planet is set for later this month, in a custom-built one-man sub to be helmed by Hollywood director James Cameron. The vessel Deepsea Challenge will dive to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, seven miles into the Challenger Deep, where Cameron will shoot 3-D video.
The 26-foot-long ship was built by a team of Australian engineers and fits just one person. It has several cameras and shares qualities of a race car and a torpedo, according to National Geographic, which is sponsoring the expedition along with Rolex.
Cameron will spend about six hours at the bottom of the trench, collecting samples for scientists and shooting footage for a documentary. He just completed a series of five-mile-deep untethered test dives off Papua New Guinea and is readying for the real thing later this month. Cameron says the mission is meant to inspire interest in the oceans and in exploration.
Suspiciously absent from the discussion is any mention of new footage for an "Avatar" sequel, which supposedly will be set in the oceans. But that's probably OK.
The director could become only the third person to dive to the bottom of the Mariana, following then-Navy lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard, who made the dive in a bathyscaphe called Trieste Jan. 23, 1960. The Deepsea Challenger would be the first manned vessel to reach the Challenger Deep.
Cameron could soon have plenty of company, however — as we read last week, Richard Branson's Virgin Oceanic venture is also building a sub that can withstand the deep's 1,100 atmospheres of pressure. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has donated money to marine technology company DOER Marine to build another ship, according to the BBC. But if Cameron's trip goes to plan, he'll be first, and along with glory he could win an X Prize.
Nat Geo built a nice website for the expedition, with plenty of photos and background on the mission — click here to see their coverage.
I spent over a year of my life (total) underwater while stationed on a Navy Sub,but this one takes real courage (~18000 PSI @ that depth!). Count me in anyway if James wants a volunteer!
Ummm... PRESSURE??? Seriously, though, how would we as humans withstand the pressure without getting the bends or paralyzed? I think we should think over small details like,
"COULD I POSSIBLY DIE A LONG AND PAINFUL DEATH ON THIS MISSION?"
Like, we can't go even 1000 metres without getting crushed.
so maybe we should UNMAN this mission. :)
"The director could become only the third person to dive to the bottom of the Mariana, following then-Navy lieutenant Don Walsh and *Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard, who made the dive in a bathyscaphe called Trieste Jan. 23, 1960."*
A guy from the 60s' did it and he went pretty far. In fact he want all the way! "finally touching down in "snuff-colored ooze" at 35,800 feet." with technology today I am certain that they can return unharmed. the Vends are a problem but they take it slowly up and spend long periods in stations leading up. this allows the pressure to slowly decrease and cause no damage. Their also be a new pressure system that I am not aware of that allows one to surface immediately. But I do agree, they should unman this mission for the directors safety.
I salute you sir. People like you protect our nation and are very much appreciated :)
Ghast Hunter (13)
The bends will not be a problem for him. Inside a submersible the atmosphere is kept at pressures suitable for humans and he will not be under much extra pressure.
Respect to the navy sub workers. There is no way in hell you could put me down there for any length of time. I would go nuts. Due mostly to the fact that I'm a huge coward. But seriously, so much can go wrong at such a depth. Even the smallest changes in pressure in the cab, or damage to the vessel itself could kill everyone inside. Its crazy, but good luck. Take some pictures, haha.