A famed Hollywood filmmaker has bested an equally famous celebrity explorer as well as an underdog submariner in a race to be the first explorer of the ocean deadliest trench in half a century.
James Cameron plunged about seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific ocean, where temperatures near freezing and the bone-crushing pressure is one thousand times greater than that at sea level.
In January, we profiled the epic attempt by three teams of modern-day explorers to reach the ocean's deepest point – the first attempt in over 50 years.
Cameron, the director of Avatar, Titanic and The Abyss, was up against British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, owner of the 32 meter (111 foot) luxury yacht charter vessel NECKER BELLE. The third team was headed by Patrick Lahey. Lahey and his team, Triton Submarines, were heavy underdogs to their wealthy competitors.
Speaking after the dive, Cameron described the ocean bottom as a "completely alien world" – similar to the surface of the moon. It was a "very lunar, very desolate place. Very isolated," Cameron said.
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