Voyage to the bottom of the sea

Voyage to the bottom of the sea

First ever solo journey to Earth's deepest point

A Hollywood film director has become the first person to travel solo to the deepest point on Earth.

James Cameron, whose movies include Titanic, Avatar, and Terminator, travelled over 10 kilometres to the ocean's deepest point, the Challenger Deep. That's 120 times deeper than the Grand Canyon and a mile deeper than Mount Everest!

Travelling in a specially designed submarine, the whole trip took seven hours. At the bottom of the trench, Mr Cameron spent about three hours collecting samples of plants, animals and rocks for research.

The Challenger Deep is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. It has only been reached once before, in 1960 by the explorers Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard.

Mr Cameron said "My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity," he said.

"I felt like I literally, in the space of one day, had gone to another planet and come back. It has been a very surreal day."

What did her see?

When Walsh and Piccard visited the bottom of the trench, their landing was bumpy and stirred up lots of silt. Mr Cameron's landing was smooth and his view was clear. What did he see?

James Cameron emerging from submarine

James Cameron emerging from the submarine

Nothing! Mr Cameron didn't see any fish or any large living animals. He only saw a few shrimplike creatures creeping around on the seabed.

But he hopes that the mud he collected might have exotic microscopic life forms in it.

What is it like at the bottom of the trench?

Freezing! Although the temperature at the surface of the ocean was 37°C, the temperature at the bottom of the trench was only 2°C. The bottom of the trench is so deep that the Sun's light and warmth cannot penetrate. It is pitch black and very cold.

The pressure at the bottom of the ocean is very high. It's like having three big cars piled on your toes! This caused Mr Cameron's capsule to shrink, making it even smaller.

Deep Sea Challenge submarine surfacing

Submarine surfacing

What's next?

The filmmaker is already planning to go back! He wasn't able to collect as many samples as he wanted to, so he is hoping to go on more trips to the bottom of the trench very soon.

The whole adventure was recorded on a 3D camera and will be turned into a feature film.

To find out more, go to Deep Sea Challenge.

Did you know? We know more about the moon than we do about the Earth's deep ocean! Find out more and see an Eel City - Dive under the ocean with Planet Science.

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