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James Cameron Gives Sub To Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-deep dept.
A year ago James Cameron made history by traveling solo almost seven miles deep in an area of the Pacific Ocean known the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep. He made the trip in a submersible he helped design, the Deepsea Challenger submersible system and science platform. To celebrate the anniversary, Cameron is forming a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and donating the Deep Sea Challenger. From the press release: "Cameron will transfer the Deepsea Challenger to Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists and engineers will work with Cameron and his team to incorporate the sub’s numerous engineering advancements into future research platforms and deep-sea expeditions. This partnership harnesses the power of public and private investment in supporting deep-ocean science. “The seven years we spent designing and building the Deepsea Challenger were dedicated to expanding the options available to deep-ocean researchers. Our sub is a scientific proof-of-concept, and our partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a way to provide the technology we developed to the oceanographic community,” says Cameron. James even sent us a few early drawings of the Deepsea Challenger that he made during a conversation with oceanographer Don Walsh in November 2003. The sketches are proof that many great ideas start out on napkins or lined paper.

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DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible system and science platform, Jim Cameron, Nov. 2003.

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"The one that's interesting, although it's very faint, is the one that shows how I would sit in the sphere, with the HD camera at the viewport. Surprisingly, that concept never changed."

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James Cameron Gives Sub To Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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  • Which one? (Score:3, Funny)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:05AM (#43280123)

    Tiger had lots of mistresses. Which one got it?

    • JAMES CAMERON (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      James Cameron doesn't do what James Cameron does for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Camerion is James Cameron.

    • by sharkey (16670)
      Could it be that Holly Sampson is responsible for raising the bar the next time it is needed?
  • by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:10AM (#43280147)

    How deep is Woods Hole?

  • by azav (469988) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:16AM (#43280179) Homepage Journal

    He promised it to me.

  • James Cameron (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad.arnett@NosPam.notforhire.org> on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:23AM (#43280233)
    ...doesn't do what James Cameron does for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because he is James Cameron.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:28AM (#43280263) Homepage

    The sketches are proof that many great ideas start out on napkins or lined paper.

    Proof: a 36" Stonehenge monument [youtube.com].

    • by jzarling (600712)
      Its terrible when you have Stonehenge monument in danger of being crushed,,, by a dwarf. And it was 18" tall.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:48AM (#43280377)

    Do the scientists at Woods Hole actually want the sub?

    • by chaim79 (898507) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @09:29AM (#43280687) Homepage

      From what I understand they are getting the Sub itself, along with access to all the technology and engineering that went into it's creation. That's a lot of great information and ideas that will go into building whatever they want, even if the Deepsea Challenger simply gets parked in a warehouse or torn apart for parts.

  • by Grizzley9 (1407005) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:59AM (#43280457)
    Would it not have been much easier and feasible to just send a remote camera instead of having to design a human capable device as well?

    From the BBC article

    Dr Alan Jamieson, from Oceanlab, said: "I think what James Cameron has done is a really good achievement in terms of human endeavour and technology. "But my feeling is that manned submersibles like this are limited in scientific capabilities when compared to other systems, mostly due to the fact there is someone in it. Remote or autonomous systems can collect a far greater volume of useful scientific data for far less money."

    Props to JC for his accomplishment but it seems it was mainly for his ego/personal curiosity.

    • by Araes (1177047) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @09:44AM (#43280801) Homepage
      Does anyone pay attention when a robot goes to the bottom of a trench on the ocean? This is the same argument against manned spaceflight and its equally foolish. Humans identify with the shared experience of other humans, and are tribally interested in what happens to them. If we want to fire people up about exploration, we need to do that exploring with humans.
      • by milkmage (795746)

        But a larger question remains: Is public support for human space flight strong enough to spur government officials to pay the price in the decades ahead? On the steps of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum last week, visitors hoped so.

        "There's a lot to be learned," says Tim Johns, 46, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, "and probably it's good for the human spirit to push the envelope."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with deep sea probes is that radio-control sucks under water, so the probes have to be tethered. That limits their range and mobility.

      Most deep sea probes are operated from a manned sub so as to shorten the tether.

    • Yep, it would have been much easier and cheaper. However, JC (hah!) wanted to go himself. So he built a submarine that could take him there.

      Never underestimate how much progress comes from a rich bastard wanting to see the stars, or see his name in the stars.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't there a significant problem communicating with subs wirelessly over even short distances? Somehow I have a hard time believing that a robotic submersible is going to be able to tow a 7 mile plus cable around with it, especially with currents going every which way. If wireless communication at great depths can't be overcome it would drastically limit robotic exploration.

    • Would it not have been much easier and feasible to just send a remote camera instead of having to design a human capable device as well?

      Sure. So long as you're willing to accept the sharp and extreme limitations that come with that remote camera.

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