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James Cameron to Descend Solo to the Pacific’s Deepest Point

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Breaking new ground in the movie industry is not the only thing that makes James Cameron excited and worried. This time ‘Abyss,’ ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ famed film director plans to pilot a specially designed submarine to the planet’s most inaccessible spot, the Marina Trench in the Pacific Ocean, about 200 miles southwest of Guam.

He truly wants to forget about red carpets and all the glitzy staff for a while and break his own 5.1-mile record on Tuesday, during testing of the submarine Deepsea Challenger off the coast of Papua New Guinea, this time going deeper, nearly 7- miles beneath the surface.

Humans have dived the Mariana Trench only once before, when a two-man US navy team went deep into the mysterious underwater world for just 20 minutes in 1960 in a massive metal vessel – the Trieste, but the Oscar-winning filmmaker will be the first to make the trek solo.

So far, Cameron, who has been an oceanography fan since childhood, has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives, including 33 to the Titanic, the subject of his 1997 blockbuster.

According to a release from National Geographic, Cameron is going to spend some six hours at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean trench, collecting samples for research in biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics. Cameron will use the on-board slurp gun to collect samples, as well as explore the bottom using a 7-foot LED panel allowing him (and for 3D HD cameras) to see up to 100 feet.

The Deepsea Challenger, which can sink upright, is 26 feet tall and it took eight years to build it. ‘It’s full of electronics,’ Mr. Cameron said. ‘It’s tight, like a Mercury space capsule.’

The exploration is a joint project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society, and watchmaker Rolex that is being called the ‘Deepsea Challenge’ and is designed to expand knowledge of still undiscovered portions of Earth. If the project succeeds, there will be two documentary films that Hollywood director will release for wide-screen theaters and for a National Geographic TV special.

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