Since the 1960s, humans have explored virtually every part of Earth’s neighborhood, the Solar System. We’ve landed six manned missions on the Moon, sent probes to or nearby all seven other plants, and expanded our knowledge of the galaxy. Yet, our own backyard remains largely unexplored. Only three times have we visited the deepest part of the world’s oceans, the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, and only once in a manned vehicle. Director and explorer James Cameron hopes to change that this month.
In a project created by Cameron with help from Australian engineers, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he hopes to be the third person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, also known as Challenger Deep measuring at over 35,800 feet in depth, in a high-tech submersible called the Deepsea Challenger. He recently finished testing the vehicle in the Solomon Sea off Papua New Guinea and is currently en route to make preparations for the historic dive near the island of Guam. If successful, Cameron will be the third man to reach the bottom of the trench, the first two being Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960.
Cameron will also have a wealth of technology at his disposal including HD cameras, LED lighting, and the ability to take samples of the ocean floor–something Walsh and Piccard didn’t have access to.
For more on the Deepsea Challenge project, check out the following video below. You can also find out more about Cameron’s ambitions for exploration in event on FORA.tv where he spoke with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.