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Earth Science

James Cameron Begins His Deep-Sea Dive 162

James Cameron is on his way down. The director's long-planned trip to the deepest spot on Earth — the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep — is in progress; by the time you read this, if all goes well, Cameron will be navigating around in depths unvisited since 1960. National Geographic's coverage of the dive is excellent as well, as is the BBC's (with video).
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James Cameron Begins His Deep-Sea Dive

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  • by multiben ( 1916126 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:58PM (#39469265)
    I can't decide if I hope it all goes well because of Terminator and Aliens, or if it's a complete failure because of Titanic and Avatar.
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:03PM (#39469289)

    One of my "If I was a billionaire" fantasies was a documentary trip back to the trench. Amazing that it's taken this long to get back.

  • That's neat! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:06PM (#39469309)

    I personally think that deep trenches are at least as interesting as outer space, if not even more so. There is a rich flora and fauna which have evolved to adapt to the high pressure and lack of sunlight and oxygen at such depths, it almost makes them seem like species that are alien to this planet.

    Unfortunately, travelling and exploring the the murky depths are prohibitively expensive for the average guy. A small excursion itself would cost about $40,000, so I would imagine that James Camerons trip is going to cost several hundred thousand dollars. Ah, I envy the rich. :)

    Anyway, here's to hoping that he gets excellent clips.

    • I personally think that deep trenches are at least as interesting as outer space.

      Interesting, certainly, inspiring? No. The possibilities of space are (cough) endless. Once you get to the bottom of the trench, you're pretty much done. Can't live there, nothing of immediate value there, much harder to sustain a colony there than outer space.

      Not saying we shouldn't visit the trenches too, just that I don't think it warrants as much attention or investment as outer space.

      • Re:That's neat! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:40AM (#39472235)

        Trenches are capable of supporting carbon based life forms, some of which we are yet to discover. Some of which might prove incredible useful in build subs that can withstand such pressure, or be useful for building some sort of night vision. The possibilities of what we can discover, that can be of direct use for mankind and the accessibility, in my opinion, makes deep sea exploration more useful than space.

        • I agree there is certain bio-research that should be done, not only in the Challenger Deep, but also across the floor of the Gulf of Mexico and any number of other under-explored areas.

          More useful than space? Dunno, I like my satellite communication, GPS and weather imagery, and the military loves their ICBMs. An awful lot of deep sea exploration is supported by space based tech today.

          We're still mucking about in near-Earth orbit about 99% of the time (because that's where the immediately useful stuff is,

  • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:06PM (#39469313)
    Forget Avatar and Titanic... this is the kind of stuff he will be remembered for.
    • Forget Avatar and Titanic... this is the kind of stuff he will be remembered for.

      Ah, remembered for? Ha, no not quite. You give far too much faith in society today.

      There is no arguing what a certain man has done to advance deep-sea exploration way before overzealous directors started showboating, looking for their next "extreme" shot behind the camera.

      Now, I challenge you to find anyone under the age of 30 who knows who Jacques Cousteau is.

      • by Ambvai ( 1106941 )

        I know he hears bells in random order, deep beneath the perfect water.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:01PM (#39469757)

        Yeah, he was the Pink Panther detective.

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        I loved the old "Undersea" series, but I don't associate Cousteau with deep sea exploration. Yea, he had that saucer that could go down a ways, but he was mostly about reef and wreck diving (and talking with that cool French accent).

        Of course this isn't about science, it's just a rich guy's publicity whoring stunt. There's no need to send a manned vehicle that deep when robots can do the job better. Several unmanned vehicles have been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench over the past couple of decades.

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:47PM (#39470059)
        My 8 year old does, and he isn't even in to ocean stuff. He just happens to like Pinky and the Brain.
  • Cool rich guy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lucm ( 889690 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:07PM (#39469317)

    As far as rich guys hobbies go, this is way cooler than buying a fighter jet or trying to get a monopoly on fighting HIV in Africa.

    • Re:Cool rich guy (Score:5, Informative)

      by skine ( 1524819 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:39PM (#39469575)

      But not quite as cool as planning on retiring to Mars.

    • or trying to get a monopoly on fighting HIV in Africa.

      Who is trying to do that?

      • He means Bill Gates, though I don't his dig about 'monopoly'. Say what you will about Bill Gates the OS monopolist, but the Gates Foundation has done very good work. Comparing Gates' and Cameron's use of their fortunes is like comparing apples and oranges. Different, but both good in their own right.

        • Re:Cool rich guy (Score:5, Informative)

          by lucm ( 889690 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @12:36AM (#39471687)

          He means Bill Gates, though I don't his dig about 'monopoly'. Say what you will about Bill Gates the OS monopolist, but the Gates Foundation has done very good work.

          I happen to have many friends working in NGOs in developing countries and I'm getting the same feedback over and over: the Gates Foundation is like a bulldozer that rolls over all the "competition" and forces people to do things their way. The foundation also has close ties to Monsanto and is pushing around the small organizations that disagree with their vision of "green development".

          I guess you have access to Google, it's worth a quick search.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            You know what, I imagine it probably does take "bulldozing" to overcome the entrenched existing entities in order to do Really Big Effective Things.

            If it takes hurting some feelings to ELIMINATE Polio and Malaria forever (!!), and who knows what other diseases in the coming decades, then that seems fine to me. Polio has been eliminated in India. I'm pretty sure all the millions of children saved aren't too concerned about the fact that Bill Gates is in a bit of hurry to get things done.

          • I work with a lot of charities around the world, and all of the big charities have their own way of doing things and refuse to work with you if you want to go your own way - its just the way they are.

          • That's an interesting take on it. How exactly do they do that? Most (not all) of the criticism I've seen boils down to either a conspiracy, or anti-science nonsense, like from anti-vaccine or anti-genetic engineering groups (and speaking of which, corporations aside, I hope that concept isn't the source of the disagreement about 'green development'). I happen to know someone who has been around the world doing a lot of work in his field in developing countries. I'll have to see what he thinks.

  • Couldn't do it; I have a pretty severe phobia of pressurized things. That scene from 'The Abyss', where the villain's ship goes down too far and... *shivers* Everyone at work pokes fun at me every time we have to change the fountain soda machine's carbon tanks, because I take off to the side room to steer clear. I came close to whaling on the bosses' son for taking a nearly-empty one, bring it over where I was and spurt out at me.

    • by ae1294 ( 1547521 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:24PM (#39469445) Journal

      Can't take the pressure hu?

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )
      For what it is worth: a catastrophic failure such as that probably wouldn't have and creaky-cracky fracturing of glass. If his vessel fails, Cameron won't have time to be afraid beforehand. It'll just be here one moment, imploded into pulp the next. Much better than a sudden depressurization from a space capsule, where (depending on who you ask) you'll live for seconds to minutes in excruciating agony.
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:10PM (#39469335) Homepage Journal

    Can he take George Lucas with him, and leave him at the bottom?

  • like when aristocrats used to fund and participate in science. We're seeing more of this kind of thing now, like this study [], or this []. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but there are definitely parallels to the way science was done during the renaissance.
    • Maybe the aristocracy is so rich now they are getting bored with their billions.
    • In the old days, the government didn't have the resources, or the vision, to fund most valuable research.

      I'm not sure the trench counts as valuable science, science certainly, but more valuable as PR.

  • The New Adventurers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheMiddleRoad ( 1153113 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:31PM (#39469507)

    The rich men are at it again. Some are going into outer space. Some are going under the ocean. I can't wait for the earth explorers, digging down deep into the crust.

  • He tweeted it about 45mins ago. [] An amazing achievement!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is now the official "Lowest Tweet Ever"

      And I thought Twitter couldn't sink any lower...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:04PM (#39469777)

    Does this mean that Titanic is no longer the lowest point in James Cameron's career?

  • by multi io ( 640409 ) <> on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:06PM (#39469791)
    Kinda interesting, but I understand he chose the spot of the seafloor he's visiting simply on the basis of it being the deepest point in the ocean, not because of something that's there and that's worth seeing/exploring. So chances are that all he'll find is... um, a seafloor, made of a lot of sand. I hope I'm wrong.
    • Doesn't just being the deepest point in the ocean make it worth exploring? I mean, its the only one. Explorers typically tend to explore the "most somethings".
    • by sk999 ( 846068 )

      Rumor is his next movie is going to be called "Voyage to See What's on the Bottom", which kinda means he really does need to reach the Bottom.

  • Constructed in secret, Cameron's undersea craft is really propelled by a Johnson outboard motor [].

  • It seems the dive is complete [] and he is back on the surface. A little quicker than expected.
  • by jasenj1 ( 575309 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:05AM (#39472917)

    From [] ..."is to jettison steel weights attached to the sub and shoot back to the surface."

    Can't we go anywhere and follow the "Leave No Trace" ethos? What effect will those weights have on the local ecosystem?

    - Jasen.

  • Watch, we get down there and the things 100 feet deep in oil....
  • (1) Mariana Trench
    (2) South Pole after the big 1911 race
    (3) The Moon looks like at least 50 years (40 already)

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