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James Cameron and 3-D cameras dive toward earth's core

Paula Duffy's picture

James Cameron director of "The Abyss" will descend into one as he dives to the lowest depths of the Mariana Trench, seven miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

James Cameron will be diving alone to the deepest part of the earth in a small submersible sphere is a tiny, thick metal sphere with an internal diameter of just 43 inches.

As he dives into the Mariana Trench, he will be unable to stretch his arms or legs while he gets to and from the point known as Challenger Deep, located some 60+ miles from the island of Guam. He is expected to remain on the ocean's floor for up to six hours while he films and collects things both inanimate and alive.

The pressure the sub will be subjected to is described by the Daily Beast as "16,000 pounds per square inch at the bottom—akin to 8,000 elephants standing on a Mini Cooper car." Cameron is using some of his own wealth to accomplish the task and is supported by both The National Geographic Society and Rolex.

He expressed the desire to accomplish the task some time ago and part of his interest is fed by his adventuresome nature as well as his keen sense of competition. He seems to be in a virtual race with Sir Richard Branson to make the dive, according to Bruce Jones, CEO of Triton Submarines and reported in the LA Weekly.

While Cameron and reportedly Branson's subs are built for one person, Triton is constructing a ship that could carry multiple passengers down and provide them full visibility of the wonders to be found. The price is expected for a ticket is expected to be in the range of $250,000.

The company provided the two-person capsule for the first successful dive and return from the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

In 1962, then Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and a Swiss co-pilot back made the trek and back. The fact that 50 years later, not one but two wealthy and competitive men are willing to try once again is not surprising to Don Walsh. He told the UK Telegraph that is squarely behind James Cameron's attempt.

"Jim is a remarkable guy who's never trained as an engineer but has an intuitive grasp of engineering details that far surpasses a lot of the professionals I've known," Walsh now 80, told British media.

Cameron has already completed a successful test dive of some five miles deep after spending thousands of hours underwater and has spent recent weeks making final preparations in Australia, including testing documentary cameras in Sydney Harbour. As one would expect from an Oscar-winning film director, Cameron will be filming as he goes.

The BBC was told by Cameron that a science team, headed up by Doug Bartlett from the Scripps Institute, will be dropping a lander - also kitted out with 3D cameras - which is baited to attract any passing life.

"I'm going to do my best to image it, light it properly, bring it back in 3D - grab samples if I can, grab rocks if I can. We are there to do science, but we are also there to take the average person who only imagines these things and show them what it is really like."

It sounds like the NASA moon exploration missions, but unlike them no one will leave a vessel or want to. His dive is waiting for calm seas and some good weather in the south Pacific. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Natasha Baucas

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