James Cameron, a director known for his vivid imagination on screen, has taken his curiosity to new depths — literally. Cameron made the fourth descent in history to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the deepest place in the ocean at seven miles below sea level.
After his journey below, Cameron is now describing his six hour excursion to the bottom the sea as a "very surreal day."
"When I came down, landed, it was very, very soft, almost gelatinous, a flat plain, almost featureless plain, and it just went out of sight as far as I could see," Cameron said, according to The Washington Post.
A hydraulic failure in his submarine meant the director was unable to collect samples from the trench.
Cameron went down the trench by himself in a small, one-man craft called the Deepsea Challenger. Not surprisingly, Cameron compared the experience to traveling to another world.
"The impression to me, it was very lunar, a very desolate place, very isolated," he said. "My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity. I felt like I had literally in the space of one day gone to another planet and come back."
Cameron had hoped to gather samples of rock and sediment from the depths of the ocean, but the massive amount of pressure rendered his craft's hydraulic arms useless. One might imagine that the bottom of the sea is home to all sorts of undiscovered creatures, but Cameron said he didn't see much of anything.
"We’d all like to think there are giant squid and sea monsters down there," Cameron said. In fact, he found shrimp-like creatures called amphipods, but "nothing larger than about an inch across."
This might not be the last time Cameron tries his luck at the bottom on the ocean. The director plans to turn his findings into a documentary and continue his campaign for ocean-floor exploration. We hope he's able to at least scrounge up some interesting bits of rock next time, or that's going to be one long, boring documentary.
No pressure for Cameron
His 12-ton, lime-green Deepsea Challenger submarine was designed to withstand
pressures of 1,125 kilograms per square centimeter – that’s over a thousand times the atmospheric pressure at sea level.
How big is the Marianas Trench?
It's 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall.