Deep Dive with James Cameron

14 03 2012

This item was recently spotted by our Paris bureau chief:

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Filmmaker James Cameron will soon be making a trip – a solo trip, by the way – to one of the deepest parts of Earth’s oceans, the Mariana Trench.

The Mariana Trench is an underwater geologic feature caused by two tectonic plates coming together south of Japan and east of the Philippines.  It is more than 1,500 miles/2,400 km long and averages about 43 miles/70 km I’m width, with an average depth of over 6 miles/11 km! 

Imagine how far six miles is when traveling on foot.  Now, imagine swimming straight down for six miles.  At the bottom, the pressure exerted by all of the water six miles above you is roughly 1,000 times greater than the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level – about 15,750 pounds per square inch.

James Cameron will make the voyage in a single seat submersible called the Deepsea Challenger.  He will be only the third person to visit the Challenger Deep portion of the Trench (a U.S. Navy expedition in 1960 had a two man crew). 

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Once on the bottom, he will spend “several hours” down there filming and collecting samples, as opposed to the original craft’s duration of only 20 minutes.

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Links to the story on BoingBoing and on the National Geographic websites.

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