In the early morning hours of 26 March, explorer/Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron realized a decade-old dream. He piloted his manned submersible, the Deepsea Challenger, to the deepest place in the World Ocean, the Challenger Deep in the western Pacific’s Mariana Trench. Cameron’s maximum depth was 35,756 feet, only 84 feet less than the Navy’s bathyscaph Trieste 52 years earlier.
This story began for me in December 2003 when I was invited to visit Jim’s offices in Malibu, California. We spent a fascinating day discussing his plan to build a full-ocean-depth manned submersible. Then for the next seven years, I heard nothing more about his project.
That changed last January when I was asked to go to Sydney, Australia, to spend a week at the shop facility where the submersible was being constructed. I expected to see a warehouse floor covered with component pieces but no submersible. What I found was quite different. A team of 35 technicians had virtually completed the Deepsea Challenger!