James Cameron, the director who gave us critically-acclaimed films like The Terminator, Titanic, Avatar, is giving us the craft that he built and rode into the sea’s deepest spot last year – well not us per se, but to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), according to the New York Times.
The director-explorer’s donation to WHOI is part of a new collaboration meant to speed ocean exploration, the partners announced this week.
The undersea craft, which cost Cameron roughly $10 million out of pocket and is known as “Deepsea Challenger,” will be used mainly to aid the design of advanced technologies, rather than to routinely carry scientists into the sea’s depths, the Times reported. However, scientists at the institution are already planning to use the cameras and lighting systems on the craft on the upcoming dive by the remotely controlled vehicle Nereus, which will return to trenches in the Atlantic and the Pacific over the next two years.
The announcement comes around the one-year anniversary of the director’s solo dive through the waters of the western Pacific. Cameron traveled down nearly 7 miles in his torpedo-like vehicle, resting at the bottom of the Challenger Deep – the lowest point of the Mariana Trench, which, according to the New York Times, is the deepest of many seabed alcoves that can be found around the globe. At the time, the director’s expedition, a partnership with National Geographic and Rolex, was highly publicized. In fact, Cameron’s expedition is now being turned into a 3D film.
The Deepsea Challenger is the only vehicle that can carry people down so deep in the water, and ocean engineers have praised the craft, which was designed by the Hollywood director and a team in Australia. It took the team seven years to create the craft’s materials and photographic systems.
Cameron told the New York Times that the main goal of his new partnership with WHOI “is to get the technology out there, to capitalize on the engineering advances on the highest possible degree.”
Along with the partnership, Cameron will become an advisor to Woods Hole. The Deepsea Challenger is expected to arrive at Woods Hole in Massachusetts sometime around June.