Filmmaker/Explorer/All-Around Great Guy James Cameron has donated his Deepsea Challenger submersible to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in a bid to spur more underwater exploration and research. The Challenger is the same vehicle that Cameron used last year on his record setting dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of that epic adventure to the lowest point on the planet, located some 11 km (7 miles) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Cameron, whose filmography includes the likes of Avatar and Titanic, became just the third person to visit the Challenger Deep and the first to do so solo. He spent seven years and $8 million on building the sub, which captured footage for an upcoming 3D film about the dive. Despite some rumors about making another voyage to the bottom of the sea however, the director has not gone back into the depths.
In donating the vehicle to the WHOI, Cameron also joined the organization’s advisory board. Researchers at the institute will use vehicles advanced lighting and camera systems as part of their own programs as they continue exploring trenches in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Cameron will consult with engineers there on those systems as well as others that he helped develop for his dive.
It is hard not to have massive respect for Cameron. He is highly successful in his day job, to say the least, and yet he has a passion for science and exploration that is tough to deny. I get the impression he makes hundreds of millions of dollars making films for Hollywood so he can fund his other projects. And when he’s done with his high tech toys that he personally helped develop, he passes them along to others who can benefit as well. We should all be so lucky to have that flexibility in our lives.
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