James Cameron reaches bottom of Mariana Trench

mariana trench

At noon on March 25 2012, James Cameron returned from the surface of the Mariana Trench, making his “vertical torpedo” only the second vessel in living history to reach its bottom. The first – the Challenger Deep Dive of 1960 – was an extraordinary feat, but Cameron’s mission has resulted in the collation of data and samples that would have been unthinkable in 1960.

According to National Geographic, the sea floor of the Mariana Trench is like a desert. In his “vertical torpedo” one-person submarine, James Cameron spent hours gliding along its cliff walls and hovering over the sea floor, all the while collecting samples with sub equipment including a sediment sampler, a robotised claw, a “slurp gun” for sucking up small sea creatures for study purposes, and temperature, salinity, and pressure gauges.

Best known for films like Avatar and The Abyss and (cough) Titanic, Cameron is clearly obsessed with water and the colour blue. A trip to the Mariana Trench has surely sealed his obsession. He now owns blue in much the same way as The Matrix cocked its territorial leg over “green”.

Cameron will probably find some things worth finding. After all, with its unmapped territories, incredible pressures and inhospitable climate, the Mariana Trench is the closest thing to space we’ve got.

Also, isn’t it quite nice to see technological advancement for scientific and entertainment purposes rather than military ones, just for once?