For a guy who’s worried that the whole world will be covered by the ocean within 10 years, James Cameron sure does spend a lot of time underneath it. National Geographic News:
At noon, local time (10 p.m. ET), James Cameron’s “vertical torpedo” sub broke the surface of the western Pacific, carrying the National Geographic explorer and filmmaker back from the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep—Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.
The first human to reach the 6.8-mile-deep (11-kilometer-deep) undersea valley solo, Cameron arrived at the bottom with the tech to collect scientific data, specimens, and visions unthinkable in 1960, when the only other manned Challenger Deep dive took place, according to members of the National Geographic expedition.
That’s the good news. The bad news: He came back up.
Incidentally, here’s a little factoid from the Geographic’s page on the Deepsea Challenger sub:
About 70 percent of the sub’s volume is taken up by syntactic foam. Formed of millions of hollow glass microspheres suspended in an epoxy resin, syntactic foam is the only flotation material that can stand up to the incredible pressures in the deep ocean… The foam provides the buoyancy James Cameron needs 7 miles (11 kilometers) down, without crushing or warping, and has twice the tensile strength of previous foams, allowing it to be used as the main structural frame of the sub…
The sub will descend because of more than 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) of steel weights held on to either side by electromagnets. To rise to the surface, the pilot will flip a switch, the plates of steel will fall to the ocean floor, and the lighter-than-water foam will hurtle the sub skyward. This step is critical—if the weights don’t drop, the pilot will be stuck at the bottom of the ocean.
Yeah, we wouldn’t want that. So, okay: James Cameron just left 1,000 pounds of steel at the bottom of the ocean because he wanted to show off. But you’re the litterbug.