Newsspot – Rocket Plunge to Deep End of the Planet

Science and exploration is awesome, i’ve gotta admit. David Attenborough tops my list of best narrators when it comes to nature documentaries and the like…the sea included. Today’s nesspot is, of course, from the New York Times, and centers around something I found a little odd. Now, I know James Cameron made movies, as everyone in the western hemisphere does, but I didn’t ever at one point even begin to imagine that he was interested in deep-sea exploration…

I’ll let you be the judge of whether it’ll be a success or not, but for me, I think his little endeavor holds great promise, but also great risk…

As always, if you want the full sandwich, look no further than here: NY Times – Rocket Plunge to Deep End of the Planet

Rocket Plunge to Deep End of the Planet

Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

RECORD BREAKER  In a test dive, James Cameron’s submersible broke the depth record for piloted vehicles, going down more than five miles.

By 
Published: March 19, 2012

 

For centuries, the daredevils known as submariners have slipped beneath the waves in vehicles made for horizontal travel. Their craft are basically underwater ships. Even submersibles, small vessels that dive unusually deep, follow the horizontal plan.

Until now.

In a stroke, James Cameron has upended the field — literally and figuratively. A man known for imaginative films (“Titanic,” “Avatar”), he has reinvented the way that people explore the deep ocean.

This month, Mr. Cameron unveiled his unique submersible and announced plans to ride it solo into the planet’s deepest recess, the Challenger Deep in the western Pacific, nearly seven miles down.

He calls it a vertical torpedo. The axis of his 24-foot-long craft is upright rather than horizontal, speeding the plunge. His goal is to fall and rise as quickly as possible so he can maximize his time investigating the dark seabed. He wants to prowl the bottom for six hours.

“It’s very clever,” said Alfred S. McLaren, a retired Navy submariner who helps to run a company that makes submersibles. “Nobody has done this kind of thing before. It’s a great idea, a tremendous idea.”

He likened Mr. Cameron to “an underwater Steve Jobs — difficult to get along with but very creative.”

“He’s driven,” Dr. McLaren went on. “He put together a hell of a technical team.”

Just as bullets are spun to steady their flight, Mr. Cameron’s craft rotates on its vertical axis — another first. In a test dive, he has already broken the modern depth record for piloted vehicles, going down more than five miles.

“He’s done something radical,” said Peter Girguis, a biological oceanographer at Harvard and head of a panel that oversees the nation’s fleet of deep-research vehicles. “He’s set aside the conventional wisdom.”

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