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DeepSeaChallenge
March 25, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Director James Cameron is currently 32,160 feet underwater and descending further, solo, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

The mission is called Deep Sea Challenge and the main web site is here: http://deepseachallenge.com/

However, twitter is where the news is coming from at the moment, from the @DeepChallenge account and also James' buddy @PaulGAllen (co-founder of Microsoft, hanging out near the descent point on his yacht).

Cameron's craft has been constructed in secret for the last few years. The plan is for him to spend 6 hours at the bottom of the Mariana Trench filming and then return.
posted by memebake (202 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dude better come back up. I'm still waiting on my Battle Angel Alita CG/Live Action movie.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:28 PM on March 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thanks for posting this, I've been following along but a bit too lazy to wrangle the links together.

Here is a chart that illustrates the depths involved. He just passed Everest depth.

#Deepseachallenge sub now deeper than everest at 32160 speed 2.0 knots not long to seabead now

There is some TV coverage right now on BBC World, not sure there is an online stream for that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm still waiting on my Battle Angel Alita CG/Live Action movie.

Why do you want bad things to happen? =(
posted by curious nu at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


James Cameron: Gives new meaning to the term "wet dream".
posted by New England Cultist at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And his ego still wasn't completely submersed!

I kid Jim. Here's wishing for a safe dive.
posted by Trurl at 2:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


This is the communication system he is using, which only allows for text messages to the surface.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:33 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do you want bad things to happen? =(

I'm convinced that it's inevitable that Hollywood's going to adapt it sooner or later anyway, and I'd rather Cameron have it than the likes of Bay or Boll.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:34 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I note that the Deepsea Challenger has a note on it that says "WARNING: HUMAN OCCUPIED VEHICLE." Maybe I'm missing something, but I suppose this is to make it clear that it is not an unmanned ROV and so other vehicles should take care around it. But this raises more questions than it answers.

1) How many entities capable of reading English do they expect to encounter on this trip? Is there something about The Abyss Cameron isn't telling us?
2) It's kind of a small sign. By the time another vehicle got close enough to read it, I suspect it would be too late to avoid an accident.
3) Most submarines don't have windows, so I'm not sure how they'd be expected to read it anyway.
posted by jedicus at 2:36 PM on March 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


jedicus, it's probably to warn maintenance and handling crews that the craft is subject to stricter than usual standards, just as human-rated rockets are a different class from those only used to launch unmanned payloads.
posted by localroger at 2:38 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's kind of a small sign. By the time another vehicle got close enough to read it, I suspect it would be too late to avoid an accident.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE FAR TOO DEEP
posted by Flunkie at 2:39 PM on March 25, 2012 [19 favorites]


This quote from the Deep Sea Challenger site gives a bit of context:
“Twelve men have walked on the surface of the moon and maybe 500 have traveled to space, but only two have visited the very deepest point of the ocean, which they reached on January 23, 1960.”
posted by memebake at 2:43 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Okay, now when are we gonna get a vain obsessed individual rich enough to single-handedly go back to the Moon?

Tom hanks I'm lookin at you
posted by localroger at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Cool as hell. I'm glad this guy who makes movies I don't really care for also has a profoundly geeky, technical side that he pours all his money into. And we benefit.
Good ahead dude, make the Abyss: the Resurfacing.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


mmmmm....marinara trench
posted by DU at 2:48 PM on March 25, 2012 [22 favorites]


This had totally flown under my radar ... so to speak. Thanks for sharing, I'll be watching closely for the next few hours!
posted by meinvt at 2:49 PM on March 25, 2012


rich enough to single-handedly go back to the Moon?

Apollo Creed?
posted by The White Hat at 2:49 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if he's got travel insurance.
Twitter is kind of amazing, heres Dave Stewart the musician chatting to Paul Allen the tech billionaire about James Cameron, the movie director, diving 7 miles underwater.
posted by memebake at 2:50 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


James, when you're done with this, how about a trip to the ISS and a spacewalk? Yes, we want you bring cameras on that voyage too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:51 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No tweets for the last 37 mins, hope they're just busy.
posted by memebake at 2:57 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Already know what his last text will be.

"Knew this was one way ticket, but you know I had to come."
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:59 PM on March 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


Ah, sounds like he made it
posted by memebake at 3:00 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]



Ah, sounds like he made it


call guinness
posted by radwolf76 at 3:02 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's pretty damn cool.
posted by rtha at 3:04 PM on March 25, 2012


Whoo hoo! He's down!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2012


Congratulations, Mr. Cameron. I wish more rich people would do stuff this cool with their money. Tom Hanks, I'm still lookin at you.
posted by localroger at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2012


At the bottom now!
posted by TreeRooster at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2012


Cameron seems to be tweeting from down there too.
So the pressure down there is about 1,000 atmospheres, and so it takes a lot of engineering to make something that works down there. Sub details here.
posted by memebake at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just to help set the scene:

...the sphere is so small that while inside the pilot’s legs are tightly bent and he can barely move his arms.

Can you imagine what he's feeling right now? Amazing.

That National Geographic site is filled with great stuff. I had no idea the Marianas Trench is part of the U.S. national monument system.
posted by mediareport at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to reserve my congratulations until he makes it back up, you know?
posted by cstross at 3:07 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


In an Anicent trench dire Cameron lies a'tweeting
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on March 25, 2012 [26 favorites]


Damn, that is some cool shit right there.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:08 PM on March 25, 2012


cstross, even if he doesn't make it up he made it down. That's a Guinness. Lots of people would consider making it back up to be lagniappe.
posted by localroger at 3:09 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


1) How many entities capable of reading English do they expect to encounter on this trip? Is there something about The Abyss Cameron isn't telling us?
2) It's kind of a small sign. By the time another vehicle got close enough to read it, I suspect it would be too late to avoid an accident.
3) Most submarines don't have windows, so I'm not sure how they'd be expected to read it anyway.


Answers:

1) We know for a fact that liquid alien from Abyss is going to be down there and while we know that alien has the ability to take control over radio/television, as well as giant tidal waves, it doesn't hurt to be polite.
2) I think it's more about being modest. I mean, what is he supposed to do? Strap on a giant neon beer sign that flashes the words: THIS HUMANS FOR YOU! SPONSERED BY BUD LIGHT!?
3) You assume that the other billionaires of the world aren't already down there in their own submarines. Maybe they have some kind of secret club and Cameron wasn't allowed. You know like that Simpsons episode: "No Homers Allowed"

James Cameron: "So can I join the club?! I already have my own submarine and everything!?"
Billionaire #4: "I'm sorry read the sign: NO CAMERONS ALLOWED!"
James Cameron: "But, Kirk Cameron is already inside?"
Billionaire #4: "Read the sign, it says: NO CAMERONS!' we're allowed to have one."

With that rejection still fresh in his mind, maybe having that sign, small as it is - it's his way of announcing to the billionaire's club, I still want in.
posted by Fizz at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


wow, so Jim's crouched in a metal sphere of 109cm internal diameter. Thats insane
posted by memebake at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2012


Can you imagine what he's feeling right now?

He is probably feeling like being at the bottom of the world is the same as being on top of the world.
posted by localroger at 3:11 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


KEEP PANTYHOSE ON
posted by ShutterBun at 3:12 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


wow, so Jim's crouched in a metal sphere of 109cm internal diameter. Thats insane

And it's 9 hours down and up. Reminds me of a childhood car trip to Canada.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:12 PM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


memebake, I'm pretty sure it's a cylinder 109cm diameter.

furiousxgeorge: I'm sure Mitt Romney's dog can sympathize.
posted by localroger at 3:13 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I love Internet: I can instantly bypass all the shit thrown against me and focus on one-in-a-lifetime historic event.
posted by elpapacito at 3:13 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


localroger: No, it's a sphere.
posted by pharm at 3:15 PM on March 25, 2012


memebake, I'm pretty sure it's a cylinder 109cm diameter.
No, its definitely a sphere. Better weight-to-strength ratio.
posted by memebake at 3:16 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks for the link memebake. I was thinking of a story on what was obviously a different project.
posted by localroger at 3:18 PM on March 25, 2012


Rolex is one of the sponsors of this and they have one of their watches strapped to the sub. On the outside.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


For people not twitting, here's the first txt message from the bottom

"Just arrived at the ocean's deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can't wait to share what I'm seeing w/ you @DeepChallenge"
posted by elpapacito at 3:22 PM on March 25, 2012


Rolex: It takes a squishing and keeps on sweeping the hand smoothly around the dial without a tick.
posted by localroger at 3:22 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like that the chart furiousxgeorge posted above contains a picture of what looks like Cthulhu.
posted by AMSBoethius at 3:24 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait until he sees the 'gift' that Michael Biehn left on his sub.
posted by panboi at 3:27 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, so, I must be missing something here. He's all the way at the bottom of the ocean, in a vehicle that has no windows. He can only see with cameras.

Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?
posted by Malor at 3:29 PM on March 25, 2012


I think there's one small window Malor.
posted by pharm at 3:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because then he wouldn't be there. Duh.
posted by mediareport at 3:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


1) How many entities capable of reading English do they expect to encounter on this trip? Is there something about The Abyss Cameron isn't telling us?
2) It's kind of a small sign. By the time another vehicle got close enough to read it, I suspect it would be too late to avoid an accident.
3) Most submarines don't have windows, so I'm not sure how they'd be expected to read it anyway.


Hagbard Celine
posted by cmoj at 3:31 PM on March 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


What about toilet breaks?
posted by Summer at 3:31 PM on March 25, 2012


Catheter.
posted by pharm at 3:32 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


(or similar.)
posted by pharm at 3:33 PM on March 25, 2012


Ok, so, I must be missing something here. He's all the way at the bottom of the ocean, in a vehicle that has no windows. He can only see with cameras.

Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?


Why run when you can walk.
Why walk when you can sit.
Why go outside when you can stay in.
Why chew your food when you can have it fed to you intrevenously.
Why have sex with another human when you can just do it yourself.
There are a lot of things we can do, without having to step outside our door.
I for one want to live my life not have it lived for me!!

Bravo sir! Keep on Cameron. Keep forging ahead!
posted by Fizz at 3:33 PM on March 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'll get to the bottom of this, Summer.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:33 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?

Radio waves don't penetrate that deep, ultrasound telemetry has latency issues at that range, and he didn't want to run almost 36k of umbilical cable?
posted by radwolf76 at 3:35 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, its definitely a sphere. Better weight-to-strength ratio.

It takes balls to do something like this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 PM on March 25, 2012 [24 favorites]


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a trend of Extremely Rich People increasingly one-upping each other over their ambitions to do absolutely whacky things with their money?

From Gates trying to reinvent education and eradicate malaria, to the various x-prizes, to commercial space travel, to this guy apparently trying to collect All The Facts in today's Times, and I'm sure there's lots more examples.

Starting foundations for the betterment of mankind is time-honored and I can certainly get behind it over devoting one's life to bling and yachts, but single-handedly trying to advance a science, or the species as a whole... because you can... somehow makes me uncomfortable.
posted by tempythethird at 3:39 PM on March 25, 2012


More sub details. So he can actually drive this thing around, it hovers a set distance above the sea floor.

There's an awful lot that go wrong - experimental deep sea batteries, experimental deep sea thrusters, a new kind of syntactic foam that the hull is made out of, huge steel plates to weight the sub down that are ejected to return it to the surface, with multiple fail safes ... but even so. Its a test flight into an extremely inhospitable place.
posted by memebake at 3:40 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


109cm diameter.

James Cameron is 187 cm tall, apparently.
posted by carter at 3:41 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?

Actually, that's the joke. He never left the boat. They are just sending him a video feed from a remote controlled robot sub. In about 20 minutes they are going to start banging on the outside of it and blast a hole in it.

The reaction should be priceless.

(Oh, and the real reason he's doing it is because he's got the money and he goddamn feels like doing it)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:41 PM on March 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


radwolf76:

"Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?

Radio waves don't penetrate that deep, ultrasound telemetry has latency issues at that range, and he didn't want to run almost 36k of umbilical cable?
"

The Nereus, a type of remotely operated underwater vehicle, reached the bottom of the Mariana trench in 2009.

But this is human exploration! A thousand times better!
posted by Petrot at 3:42 PM on March 25, 2012


(Oh, and the real reason he's doing it is because he's got the money and he goddamn feels like doing it)

THIS!
posted by Fizz at 3:42 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is an incredible feat and I'm surprised that it hasn't gotten more media play. But boy, is there a shocking lack of imagination when it comes to nomenclature! James Cameron undertakes the Deepsea Challenge in the Deepsea Challenger by diving to the Challenger Deep.
posted by emergent at 3:43 PM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Paul Allen ‏ (@PaulGAllen )#DeepseaChallenge Pressure at bottom is 16,285 Pounds per square inch at that depth. Design pressure was 16,500 ...Yikes/Amazing!
posted by Petrot at 3:44 PM on March 25, 2012


James Cameron: Just when you thought he couldn't sink any lower.
James Cameron: Shallow movies, deep adventures!
James Cameron: There's a director in a sub on a log in the hole at the bottom of the sea!
James Cameron: WATER RESISTANT TO 12000M
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:45 PM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Starting foundations for the betterment of mankind is time-honored and I can certainly get behind it over devoting one's life to bling and yachts, but single-handedly trying to advance a science, or the species as a whole... because you can... somehow makes me uncomfortable.

Why? Do you think Columbus volunteered to sail into the abyss for some noble reason? Galileo put his life on the line because he thought we should all better understand heliocentrism? I can imagine these guys looked at themselves as bader ass motherfuckers than everyone else.

Nothing has advanced our curiosity or knowledge of the world so much as man's ego and need to find more than the next guy.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 3:45 PM on March 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


Cameron has a long ways to go if he wants to catch up to Steve Fossett.

But this is a fine start!
posted by bukvich at 3:46 PM on March 25, 2012


I'm surprised he went down there. The undersea aliens are still upset about how they were portrayed in Abyss.
posted by humanfont at 3:49 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing has advanced our curiosity or knowledge of the world so much as man's ego and need to find more than the next guy.

No space for unconditional curiosity? What if I didn't care at all about knowing more than the next guy?
posted by elpapacito at 3:50 PM on March 25, 2012


First images from sub now coming through
posted by memebake at 3:50 PM on March 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a trend of Extremely Rich People increasingly one-upping each other over their ambitions to do absolutely whacky things with their money?

Someone has never visited any stately homes.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


bukvich, I think Cameron just officially entered at least the staging grounds of Fossett-dom, if not having overtaken him. The fact that Cameron has arranged for lots of scientific return (unlike his predecessors in the Trieste, or Fossett on any of his adventures) is a big plus.

Why not just send a rover on remote control instead?

There really isn't any technology that gives the agility and real-time response to HD video quality realtime images that you can get by being there. Even if you're willing to string 36K of fiber the data quality is pretty crap and the cable weighs a thousand times more than the sub. You'd need something like the Mars rovers which are semi-autonomous to get this level of data collection remotely, and we don't have anything like that that can navigate a submersible.
posted by localroger at 3:54 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Nereus, a type of remotely operated underwater vehicle, reached the bottom of the Mariana trench in 2009."

I'm curious to what the bandwidth on its fiber optic umbilical was, how many video feeds could it send back to the surface simultaneously. Could it handle feeds from all four of the HD cameras that Cameron's sub has?
posted by radwolf76 at 3:54 PM on March 25, 2012


Nothing has advanced our curiosity or knowledge of the world so much as man's ego and need to find more than the next guy.

Might be true for particularly macho sorts of advancement - exploration, grand-scale engineering and so on.

But the more I read about the sorts of geniuses who advanced basic sciences (Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Turing, Einstein, various physicists, on and on...) the more you find weirdos, obsessives, dreamers who forget to put on socks, extreme introverts, and generally the sorts of people whose motivations are probably inscrutable to most of us and probably to them as well.
posted by tempythethird at 3:54 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


James Cameron: Quite possibly out of his depth.
James Cameron: Providing trenchant observations.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:57 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


No space for unconditional curiosity? What if I didn't care at all about knowing more than the next guy?

I doubt you'd go places like the bottom of the sea, or the moon, or off the edge of the world where nobody else has been or knows much about. Curiosity is one thing; the obsessive need to know, even if it might kill you, that's a whole other ballgame.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 3:59 PM on March 25, 2012


I'm about 183 cm tall and claustrophobic, so reading the description of that sphere made me want to gobble down a handful of benzos. Seems kind of like a rich man's folly, but it takes more nerves then I've got.
posted by Mavri at 4:02 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uwe Boll says he's in the early stages of plans that will outdo Cameron in his quest to be the first man to land on the Sun.
posted by panboi at 4:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Uwe Boll says he's in the early stages of plans that will outdo Cameron in his quest to be the first man to land on the Sun.

Tell me there's a Kickstarter for this.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [32 favorites]


Just wait. When he comes up, he'll be riding a flying shark. He will be Aqua Makto.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:10 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think there's one small window Malor.

I believe there's a 5K camera pointed out that window and Cameron just looks at the feed from that: "Inches from the pilot’s face a screen projects images captured by a Red Epic 5K camera that generates a wide-angle view—better than what the pilot could see with his eyes—from the narrow end of the sphere’s cone-shaped window."
posted by jedicus at 4:27 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Starting foundations for the betterment of mankind is time-honored and I can certainly get behind it over devoting one's life to bling and yachts, but single-handedly trying to advance a science, or the species as a whole... because you can... somehow makes me uncomfortable.

Damn straight! Can't he just sit on his couch and post to metafilter like the rest of us?
posted by happyroach at 4:28 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Previously — 62 years is a long wait for a sequel.
posted by cenoxo at 4:32 PM on March 25, 2012


Well dammit, if the cost of having science or the position of my species advanced is that some rich guy gets to massage his boner, I'm totally cool with going back to loincloths, atlatls, and flintknapping. Because who wants to deal with that shit.
posted by localroger at 4:35 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there even enough room in his sphere for him to do that?
posted by radwolf76 at 4:38 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tell me there's a Kickstarter for this.

It's really not that impressive, Boll says he's going at night.
posted by chaff at 4:39 PM on March 25, 2012 [24 favorites]


Good article on Nat Geo about what the plan is while he's down there
posted by memebake at 4:39 PM on March 25, 2012


For all Ye' Dreamers!
posted by Meatafoecure at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2012


Photos and illustrations of Cameron's DeepSea Challenger submersible at National Geographic, including a scale comparison with the pioneering bathyscaphe Trieste.
posted by cenoxo at 4:46 PM on March 25, 2012


So the pressure down there is about 1,000 atmospheres, and so it takes a lot of engineering to make something that works down there.

The Cinefex issue on Titanic - discussing the dive on the wreck:
Of even greater concern than the camera was what surrounded it. "The housing for the camera was a titanium cylinder, about three feet long and ten inches in diameter," explained Cameron. "[Brother] Mike [Cameron] was into underwater photography, understood it well, and he got together with some other experts in the field to create the four-inch-thick borosilicate glass dome ports that we would have to shoot through, because the pressure at the depth we were going to be was 6,500 pounds per square inch. Multiply that by the number of square inches of glass in the front port for the camera, and you get 1.1 million pounds of pressure on a piece of glass nine and a half inches in diameter. Under those circumstances, the consequences of the glass failing were extreme - because if it did water would race down inside of the tube, probably exceeding hypersonic velocity before it reached the back of the housing, and demolish the camera down to a molecular level. Worse, the stainless steel end cap would then blow off with the kinetic energy of a cannon shell and go right through the sphere of the submarine. So our lives depended on that glass not shattering. My brother's advice to me was, 'Don't ever have the back end of the housing pointing towards the sub.' And my response was: 'Mike, the back of the housing is always going to be pointing the toward the sub, because the camera's going to be pointing away from the sub. That's the whole idea!'"
Big brass ones, this man has.
posted by Trurl at 4:46 PM on March 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


" Can you imagine what he's feeling right now?"

King if the world? I think we've all already seen his O face.

(But come on, let's be fair, Cameron has been involved in cool-ass deep sea machines and exploration for years and is no mean inventor. He's not just "some rich guy" on a lark -- tho certainly the money helps with the larks.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:47 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can snark all you want, but that sense of wonder and inspiration that Neil deGrasse Tyson has been talking about NASA losing? I'm feeling that. I knew Cameron was going to do this, but I had no idea he'd do it today.
posted by Catblack at 4:49 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Beats trying to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:50 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kudos to Mr. Cameron, this is awesome.
posted by Vindaloo at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Big brass ones, this man has.

Ah, not to put too fine of a point on it, but perhaps you've also noticed the submerged attitude of the DeepSea Challenger?
posted by cenoxo at 4:58 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just hope he doesn't get DVT.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:59 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


SERIOUSLY all I want out of life right now is for Michael Bay to burst out of the shadows in a submarine shaped like a sea monster and scare the bejeezus out of Cameron and then make an IMAX 3D movie about it.

idk why but in my personal life canon Michael Bay really likes trolling people.
posted by elizardbits at 5:00 PM on March 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


Is he (re-re-re-re-)recording a death metal album???
posted by indubitable at 5:01 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


SERIOUSLY all I want out of life right now is for Michael Bay to burst out of the shadows in a submarine shaped like a sea monster Bayformers Megatron and scare the bejeezus out of Cameron and then make an IMAX 3D movie about it.

Fixed.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:02 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cameron finally makes Son of Abyss.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:08 PM on March 25, 2012


I don't care if it's a submarine shaped like a corn dog I JUST WANT EPIC UNDERWATER TROLLING OKAY.
posted by elizardbits at 5:12 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


...62 years is a long wait for a sequel.

Make that 52 years.
posted by cenoxo at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2012


The Abyss II: The Abyssening
posted by Trurl at 5:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Somehow I seem to be listening to One Of Our Submarines at the moment. Certainly not by design.
posted by hippybear at 5:16 PM on March 25, 2012


The Abyss II: It came from the Hadopelagic Zone
posted by hot_monster at 5:19 PM on March 25, 2012


In terms of the psychological isolation, I'm reminded of Alfred Worden - who, during his time alone in the command module of Apollo 15, was 2,235 miles away from the nearest human being.
posted by Trurl at 5:25 PM on March 25, 2012


Don't want to alarm anyone, but the team are a little concerned that nothing's been heard from Cameron since his last message: "Unbelievably hot in here - opening the window for a bit to cool down".
posted by panboi at 5:32 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm sure this cost a lot of money, but when we're talking this strata of amounts, buying companies and hiring people to research and build you an ultra-sub can spin off technologies that then pay for your toy. And then some. You'd have to be a sucker to just pay people to build something that you'd buy from them. If there's such a thing as trickle down economy, this would be one of the least crap examples.

It's nice having very large amounts (VLA) of money and I'm glad that Cameron used his VLA of money on something like this. A went to highschool with some kids of people who worked the machine shop in N. Van. for some of the (fully functioning) props for The Abyss.

--

9 hours down, 9 hours back up...

Can someone explain how they keep the sphere at 1atm, or is there some other fancy way of de-gassing joins on the way back up?

Man, 1.09 meter diameter sphere. For a minimum of 18 hours. I wonder if its more a materials limitation or a design limitation. How much more time/money would it have cost to make the sphere big enough that he could at least stretch out a little in?
posted by porpoise at 5:44 PM on March 25, 2012


I used to not care for James Cameron because of his massive ego. But he seems to be putting that ego to good use here, so good for him! Go nuts, Jimmy, and come back safely.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:48 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is very cool and he's got some serious brass ones. I can't find a mention of how long he plans to stay down there, when is he due up?
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 PM on March 25, 2012


octothorpe: The Discover page (http://deepseachallenge.com/the-expedition/the-experience/) he's going to be down for six hours tooling around looking at various things of interest and taking samples.

This is so incredibly awesome. I really just have no words.
posted by R343L at 5:53 PM on March 25, 2012


ok no wait I want Kate Winslet to surprise him in a submarine shaped like Leonardo DiCaprio's head
posted by elizardbits at 5:55 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'd save the jokes until he surfaces safely.
posted by octothorpe at 5:57 PM on March 25, 2012


It's on it's way back up now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2012


Also: James Cameron is 57.

The only abyss most 57 year olds are concerned with are their prostate gland.
posted by Trurl at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2012


What octothorpe. Seriously, why all the joking? This is one of the most impressive technological (and likely scientific) events in a long time. If we're lucky, he'll bring up all kinds of interesting things that will tell us more about life on earth, evolution, how planets "work", etc. Jokes about his film career seem ... insulting.
posted by R343L at 6:00 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Err, what octothorpe said
posted by R343L at 6:01 PM on March 25, 2012


Can someone explain how they keep the sphere at 1atm, or is there some other fancy way of de-gassing joins on the way back up?

The sphere stays at 1atm because it's essentially incompressible at its rated depth, so it's volume remains constant and, with the gas inside remaining constant, the pressure inside remains constant. That's why they chose a sphere. To create an incompressible cylinder would require much thicker walls, although it could be done. To create an incompressible cube would require hugely thick walls.
posted by 6550 at 6:04 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


porpoise writes "Man, 1.09 meter diameter sphere. For a minimum of 18 hours. I wonder if its more a materials limitation or a design limitation. How much more time/money would it have cost to make the sphere big enough that he could at least stretch out a little in?"

The pilot's compartment has an internal diameter of 43 inches; that's down right roomy compared to a Sperry Ball turret which had an outside diameter of 36".
posted by Mitheral at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well looks like he is coming back up. He was down on the bottom for 2.5 hours or so.
posted by carter at 6:27 PM on March 25, 2012


Does Cameron need to go through decompression on the way back up like divers do?
posted by gen at 6:39 PM on March 25, 2012


I'm surprised he can endure the cramped body posture that long. Isn't forcing people to be confined in a small space like that a standard torture technique?
posted by chortly at 6:54 PM on March 25, 2012


I wonder if its more a materials limitation or a design limitation.

They said it's because of how other parts of the sub scale with the sphere. It uses some sort of foam for flotation, and a sphere that was a little bit bigger would have meant a lot more foam and structure and foam to lift that structure and structure for that foam and so on. So they went for the weensiest possible sphere.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:55 PM on March 25, 2012


Isn't forcing people to be confined in a small space like that a standard torture technique?

It isn't torture if you're doing it willingly.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


An album by Drexciya would be good for this.
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 7:03 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And it's back on the surface.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:07 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well done.
posted by Jehan at 7:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


What octothorpe. Seriously, why all the joking? This is one of the most impressive technological (and likely scientific) events in a long time. If we're lucky, he'll bring up all kinds of interesting things that will tell us more about life on earth, evolution, how planets "work", etc. Jokes about his film career seem ... insulting.

Cameron isn't a marine biologist or geologist; he isn't going to be able to distinguish between which parts of what he's seeing are new and worth studying in more detail and which are mundane. For him to go instead of someone qualified to do actual science strikes me as wasteful ego-stroking behavior.
posted by Pyry at 7:16 PM on March 25, 2012


It's not like they're going to throw away the submersible now. I think he just wanted to go first.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


It isn't torture if you're doing it willingly.

What makes it torture, as I understand it, is that the body produces excruciating pain after a few hours of immobility, whether you do it willingly or not. I gather he has tested this on shallower trips, so it may not be too much of a problem -- though it may also explain why the trip was a little shortened.
posted by chortly at 7:22 PM on March 25, 2012


Or you know, he could be a documentarian who wanted to use the vessel that he bankrolled to go get the footage that he wanted it built for in the first place. Plenty of time for other people more versed in the marine sciences to take it down after him.

Also, wasn't this the craft's test voyage? I thought I read in one of these articles that they hadn't done any sea trials with it beforehand.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:23 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cameron isn't a marine biologist or geologist; he isn't going to be able to distinguish between which parts of what he's seeing are new and worth studying in more detail and which are mundane. For him to go instead of someone qualified to do actual science strikes me as wasteful ego-stroking behavior.

He's down there to run a camera, and is experienced with running a camera under water.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]



And it's back on the surface.

Yeah, well, somebody check if he still has cavities.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:28 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cameron isn't a marine biologist or geologist; he isn't going to be able to distinguish between which parts of what he's seeing are new and worth studying in more detail and which are mundane.

Perhaps you're unaware that Cameron has been doing underwater documentaries for a decade now, and has worked with marine biologists and other scientists in close quarters to bring the best possible product to the screen.

Plus, it's not like he's going to be the only thing reporting the experience. There were a bunch of cameras mounted on-board which were recording the journey from various positions around the vessel, as well as a variety of other scientific equipment. I'm sure this data and footage will be analyzed by experts of whatever stripe may be interested to gather information and plan future missions and such.

Also, wasn't this the craft's test voyage? I thought I read in one of these articles that they hadn't done any sea trials with it beforehand.

No, the craft has been tested several times, apparently always with Cameron inside.
posted by hippybear at 7:28 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pyry: It's pretty unlikely that you really "need" a biologist or geologist to go down. Not knowing the exact conditions they would encounter, the entire path was mapped out (see the links). Generally speaking you don't deviate from those plans *anyway* because it's not worth the risk. And quite a lot of marine biologists never actually go under water themselves, depending on others to gather video and samples for them. In any case, this part of the ocean is so unknown I don't think even a marine biologist would know what is "mundane" and not worth looking at. It's *all* worth looking at.

So yes, you could say it's "ego stroking" but he financially ran the thing and, given his history with ocean related things previously, is probably more of an expert on the topic than most in this thread.
posted by R343L at 7:29 PM on March 25, 2012


On foolishly not previewing what hippybear said.
posted by R343L at 7:31 PM on March 25, 2012


No, the craft has been tested several times, apparently always with Cameron inside.

Ok, thanks, I had been confused by a passage from an article linked by memebake above:

Typically "you conduct a sea trial for a vehicle, you pronounce it fit for service, and then you develop a science program around it," Cameron said before heading to the trench. "We collapsed that together into one expedition, because [we were] fairly confident the vehicle would work—and it is."

I still have to give him credit for being test pilot on this, even though he's been testing novel underwater equipment ever since he had special scuba masks manufactured for The Abyss.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:42 PM on March 25, 2012


There will be others:

His craft may also soon be joined by other manned submersibles vying to reach the ocean's deepest depths. One of these crafts, the DeepFlight Challenger, belongs to former real estate investor Chris Welsh, and is backed by Virgin's Richard Branson. It is about to begin its water trials. Its design is based on a plane, and Mr Welsh says he will be "flying" down to the deepest ocean.

Google's Eric Schmidt has helped to finance another sub being built by a US marine technology company called Doer Marine. They want this sub to carry two to three people, and are placing a heavy emphasis on science. And Triton submarines, a Florida-based submersible company, intends to build a sub with a giant glass sphere at its centrepiece to take tourists down to the deepest ocean for $250,000 a ticket.

posted by mediareport at 7:45 PM on March 25, 2012


I happen to be reading The Ice Diaries: The True Story of One of Mankind's Greatest Adventures by Captain William Anderson. It's the story of the USS Nautilus--the first nuclear submarine--explorating under the arctic ice cap including passing through the North Pole.

This was 1957-8. No one had any idea what it was like under the arctic ice. Nautilus's first venture under the ice, lasting about 3 days and venturing to about 400 miles from the pole, coincided with the launch of Sputnik. Anderson was apparently the only person who understood the military importance of being able to operate subs in the arctic, but his motivation was the same as any explorer.
posted by neuron at 7:48 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


For him to go instead of someone qualified to do actual science strikes me as wasteful ego-stroking behavior.

How dare he use his money for something good?! Doesn't he know he's just supposed to blow it on cocaine and whores?
posted by photoslob at 7:56 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I somehow became a bajillionaire I would totally blow it all on making Sci-Fi epics and Doc Venture style science adventuring.
posted by Artw at 7:59 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do they manage specimens collected at that depth, when they get them back to the surface, with 1/1,000th of the pressure? Wouldn't they just explode or something?
posted by dg at 8:00 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


re: the his not being a real scientist noise - noaa has been moving towards making the PI's remote for years now. to my mind if you take the adventure out of it, talented people will leave deep water oceanography - good for Cameron for this, and safe travels.
posted by Dr. Boom at 8:00 PM on March 25, 2012


I hope he finds a room-temperature superconductor down there and gets to name it, just to piss all the cynical hipster snobs off.
posted by Artw at 8:03 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Does Cameron need to go through decompression on the way back up like divers do?

No, he brought 1 atmosphere of pressure down with him and stayed in it.
posted by mediareport at 8:08 PM on March 25, 2012


How do they manage specimens collected at that depth, when they get them back to the surface, with 1/1,000th of the pressure? Wouldn't they just explode or something?

Probably. Sometimes I think they put captured specimens in pressure vessels, but I'm not sure if that's practiced by anyone.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:25 PM on March 25, 2012


If anyone is confused how research is funded in this world, a lot of it is bored rich guys looking for meaning in their lives. Walk through a hospital/research institution in this country and look at all the listings of beneficiaries. They're generally easy to deal with, they just want to see their name on a wall and have a story to tell their friends about something good/interesting their money went to.

Glad he made it back safe and am excited to hear what data he collected.
posted by slapshot57 at 8:28 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


- The plan is for him to spend 6 hours at the bottom of the Mariana Trench filming and then return.

- He was down on the bottom for 2.5 hours or so.


Wonder if anything went wrong.
posted by mediareport at 8:33 PM on March 25, 2012


I hope he finds a room-temperature superconductor down there and gets to name it, just to piss all the cynical hipster snobs off.

You so know he's going to call it unobtanium.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:48 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, that's the joke. He never left the boat. They are just sending him a video feed from a remote controlled robot sub. In about 20 minutes they are going to start banging on the outside of it and blast a hole in it.

HA! They should have made tiny holes at the top, and started pouring in water saying "Hope everything is ok down there. We're at the point where if the pod was leaking, there'd be no way to bring you back up before it filled with water." Then they should have made those creaking sounds you hear on subs. When he starts freaking out, they should let him out while saying "Thats what you get for killing Jack, BITCH!"
posted by karathrace at 8:49 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wonder if anything went wrong.

Or anyONE...?

(cue Zalgo text)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:50 PM on March 25, 2012


One of these crafts, the DeepFlight Challenger

Um. Is that really the surname they want to use for their advanced exploratory vessel? It seems like there might be some distressing connotations attached to that name. Why not call it Deepflight Returnssafeandsound?
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:51 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Among the 2.5-story-tall DEEPSEA CHALLENGER sub's tools are a sediment sampler, a robotic claw, a "slurp gun" for sucking up small sea creatures

The only way this could make me happier is if you can then shoot the sucked-up sea creatures at other sea creatures for bonus points.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:56 PM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Okay, now when are we gonna get a vain obsessed individual rich enough to single-handedly go back to the Moon?
Mars is where Elon Musk wants to retire. Moon landing capability too, sure, but for an extended stay destination you want easier access to CO2, nitrogen and water.
posted by roystgnr at 9:10 PM on March 25, 2012


This may be a good time to point out that, if you're rooting for doubling NASA's budget, you should be looking at getting some funding to NOAA as well; I remember Dr Robert Ballard, the scientist who found the remains of the Titanic, mentioning on Colbert Report that one year of NASA's budget would fund NOAA's budget to explore the oceans for 1,600 years, and that we have more detailed maps of Mars than we have of our own seas.

I believe that the oceans are where the next great exploration challenges lie; it's cheap, do-able, needs new equipment but not massively new _technology_, combines a historical sense of exploring the seas with a Space-Age-y air-tight-suit / cramped quarters motif. It's "merely" not as sexy as space, even in the geek crowd. So stunts like this, while being a rich man's plaything and hence slightly icky, should focus attention on the real question here: why aren't scientific institutions doing more of this?
posted by the cydonian at 9:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I know someone who was asked to be involved with this dive and declined because he thought there was a reasonable chance something would go terribly wrong and someone (Cameron probably) would get badly hurt or killed.

I didn't get to follow up about why, but I wonder if it is the technical difficulty or the combo of technical difficulty plus a dynamic where if the star is funding it, maybe he's going to get a little more yes-manism than is safe from the rest of the team?

Anyway I've been watching this today with a little more apprehension than I otherwise would have had. Very glad he's back up.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:13 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cameron isn't a marine biologist or geologist; he isn't going to be able to distinguish between which parts of what he's seeing are new and worth studying in more detail and which are mundane. For him to go instead of someone qualified to do actual science strikes me as wasteful ego-stroking behavior.

It's not like there was a submarine waiting for an egomaniacal billionaire to fork over some dough and jump in. Cameron bankrolled a venture to develop and engineer new technologies to send humans down to the deepest parts of the ocean.

What he achieved isn't easy (to say so is an understatement), and presumably will make it easier for scientists to follow in his footsteps.

Without Cameron, I don't know how scientists would get down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the future. I guess he could have sent them down in his place, but it's highly unlikely.

Sure, it's an ego trip, but creating new technologies that actually work in these sorts of harsh conditions takes one hell of a lot of work.

Kudos to Cameron.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:47 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kudos to the unnamed engineers who designed and built the thing, and the grad students who will analyze the data.
posted by Pyry at 10:52 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember Dr Robert Ballard, the scientist who found the remains of the Titanic, mentioning on Colbert Report that one year of NASA's budget would fund NOAA's budget to explore the oceans for 1,600 years, and that we have more detailed maps of Mars than we have of our own seas.
Sure, but mars isn't covered in thousands of feet of optically impenetrable water. You can get maps of mars just by looking at it
Kudos to the unnamed engineers who designed and built the thing, and the grad students who will analyze the data.
I'm sure the people who built this thing are probably well known in engineering circles.
posted by delmoi at 11:04 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cameron isn't a marine biologist or geologist; he isn't going to be able to distinguish between which parts of what he's seeing are new and worth studying in more detail and which are mundane. For him to go instead of someone qualified to do actual science strikes me as wasteful ego-stroking behavior.

This isn't a one-way trip. You do realize that by building and proving out the machine, it will enable someone to use it more than once. Several times, perhaps.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but it would be nice if names other than just Ron Allum's were made known to the public through easily locatable sources. The people who made this possible should be lauded. Sadly, they're all hidden from public view.
posted by hippybear at 11:08 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doesn't he know he's just supposed to blow it on cocaine and whores?

Avatar paid for this trip. But True Lies was entirely for the lifetime cocaine and whore budget.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:09 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Artw: "If I somehow became a bajillionaire I would totally blow it all on making Sci-Fi epics and Doc Venture style science adventuring."

As much as I do so sincerely love Team Venture, fuck it. I want to be successful.

So, we will see Tesladyne Heavy Industries, where they know how action science is REALLY done.

And it will be ALL AT MY BIDDING ALONE! BWAHAHAHAHA HAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

looks around

What?
posted by Samizdata at 12:29 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it's back on the surface.

Something something UNSINKABLE!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 AM on March 26, 2012


James Cameron does what he wants with his money (relevant: Titanic alternate ending on SNL)
posted by victory_laser at 12:48 AM on March 26, 2012


This isn't a one-way trip. You do realize that by building and proving out the machine, it will enable someone to use it more than once. Several times, perhaps.

Cameron should be lauded for funding the expedition, but he's not a hero for going himself. It's just a bit sad that we have a culture where rich people are publicly celebrated for spending money on adventures, while the many people who make those adventures possible must content themselves with recognition in specialist circles.
posted by Pyry at 12:49 AM on March 26, 2012


...rich people are publicly celebrated for spending money on adventures...

Thing is, Cameron has always been into this stuff. He's not a rich person who decided to go diving - he's a diver who happened to become incredibly rich.

And if you think about the stories he writes (The Abyss, Avatar etc) he's clearly obsessed with exploration, discovery, finding new worlds, etc.
posted by memebake at 12:58 AM on March 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nice to see Hollywood finding something deeper than a barrel to scrape the bottom of.
posted by flabdablet at 1:20 AM on March 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: weirdos, obsessives, dreamers who forget to put on socks, extreme introverts, and generally the sorts of people whose motivations are probably inscrutable to most of us and probably to them as well.
posted by chavenet at 2:07 AM on March 26, 2012


Doc Venture SENIOR, obviously.
posted by Artw at 2:41 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


From Deep Sea News: James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenge: a scientific milestone or rich guy’s junket?

Why, then, might some people dismiss the Deep Challenger mission as a rich guy’s boondoggle? It’s partly the person doing it. Cameron is not a scientist by training and will likely not turn the results of this expedition into, say, peer-reviewed papers, so perhaps it’s considered pseudo-scientific, but we think this is a dour view that does little justice to the motivations of Deep Challenger and the societal values of this and all explorations.

And from two weeks ago, on science funding cuts: Losing Deep-Sea Science in the United States.

NOAA has zeroed out funding for the Undersea Research Program (NURP) for FY13 beginning Oct 1, 2012, and put all the centers on life support funding (or less) for the current year. Many other NOAA programs, mostly extramural ones, have been cut to some level, though it appears only NURP and another have had their funding zeroed out completely
posted by mediareport at 5:09 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


“The documentary about my dive will still be overly-long and tedious”, confirmed Cameron, “and I’m leaving in the bit where I clench my fists, close my eyes and launch into a Celine Dion song.”
posted by looeee at 5:26 AM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cameron is not a scientist, he is a highly trained and experienced technician, with serious underwater operations chops and unparalleled experience in deep sea photography and videography.

He is also a multimillionaire and bankrolled the whole operation, but even if he were a $45k-a-year tech at Woods Hole, with his skill set and experience, he'd still be on a really short list of qualified candidates to send down.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:41 AM on March 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


If deepseachallenge.com hadn't scrolled down to black I's bout to be mad as hell
posted by rahnefan at 6:11 AM on March 26, 2012


And if you think about the stories he writes (The Abyss, Avatar etc) he's clearly obsessed with exploration, discovery, finding new worlds, etc.

Holy. Shit. You just blew my mind.

I wasn't a fan of Avatar, but it's totally a metaphor for deep-sea exploration. That's amazing.
posted by gauche at 7:34 AM on March 26, 2012


He's probably mad enough to be planning to go to Titan/whatever outer planet moon has an ocean as well, if he lives long enough.
posted by Artw at 7:40 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Congratulations to the whole team that made this happen. I'd rather James Cameron spent his money on this than blowing it all on parties etc. can't wait to see the results. Jacques Cousteau got me into Ocean Science and I'm hoping that this inspires a new generation of ocean scientists.
posted by arcticseal at 8:04 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love all the haters in this thread, complaining that someone else (obviously chosen by their superior criteria) should have gone instead, the craft should have been unmanned, etc. Nothing like internet experts to second-guess one of the great achievements that they'll never contribute to.

"OMG, Shackleton totally should have taken an experienced penguin chef!"
"WTF, Livingstone, sending a doctor to explore Africa?"
"Mercury would have learned more if they'd sent an astronomer up!"
"Three ships to the Indies? Seriously? Queen Isabella's just pimping her bling!"
posted by IAmBroom at 8:14 AM on March 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


From mediareport's link:

Why, then, might some people dismiss the Deep Challenger mission as a rich guy’s boondoggle? It’s partly the person doing it. Cameron is not a scientist by training and will likely not turn the results of this expedition into, say, peer-reviewed papers, so perhaps it’s considered pseudo-scientific

It may be viewed that way, but the samples intelligently gathered by a human with a robotic arm and real-time video are going to make hundreds of marine biologists wet their seats in a very non-seawater kind of way.

Real, great, meaningful discoveries are coming from this.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What makes it torture, as I understand it, is that the body produces excruciating pain after a few hours of immobility, whether you do it willingly or not. I gather he has tested this on shallower trips, so it may not be too much of a problem -- though it may also explain why the trip was a little shortened.

chortly, I'd assume he used painkillers to control the issue. Muscle spasms when he's trying to make delicate arm maneuvers aren't good.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:26 AM on March 26, 2012


I think one the benefits of having James Cameron in the capsule rather than some other differently qualified person is that because it was Cameron, the story attracted a lot more media interest than it would have otherwise. This kind of science needs to be constantly searching for funding, so a high profile good news story like this is absolute gold for them. James Cameron is the perfect passionate ambassador for this cause.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dr Robert Ballard, the scientist who found the remains of the Titanic

Amazing guy - if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it! He actually found the Titanic by accident (that's an exaggeration but it's a neat story).
posted by exogenous at 9:30 AM on March 26, 2012


I'm now imagining some 'League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen' thing here with James Cameron, Richard Branson and Werner Herzog employed by a Top Secret government agency to stop Uwe Boll attempting to blow up the Sun...
posted by panboi at 10:06 AM on March 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


He'll still never be able to sink as low as George Lucas.
posted by ericbop at 10:11 AM on March 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't care how dumb Avatar was, let's not forget the important and enduring contributions this man has made to the world.

I am of course speaking entirely of Terminator 2.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:53 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm now imagining some 'League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen' thing here with James Cameron, Richard Branson and Werner Herzog employed by a Top Secret government agency to stop Uwe Boll attempting to blow up the Sun...

At one point Cameron was slated to direct Total Recall 2, in which the song actually does blow up.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on March 26, 2012


WTF?

The sun.

The song remains the same.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just hope he has the good sense to deliver a sequel to Ridley Scott's return to the Alien universe - then we'll get Prometheuses.
posted by panboi at 11:54 AM on March 26, 2012


Promethei?
posted by radwolf76 at 12:16 PM on March 26, 2012


Promethim.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2012


*puts on some Drexciya*
posted by balistic at 1:53 PM on March 26, 2012


I made this to express my feelings on the subject.
posted by danny the boy at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I echo the Jacques Cousteau reference. Those television shows were my favorite as a kid even more than Star Trek.
posted by bukvich at 3:36 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Same here - Cousteau appeared to little me to be a celebrity when I was growing up, and it was brilliant that someone who was explorer, inventor, oceanographer etc. could occupy that place in the public mind.
posted by reynir at 4:04 PM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Artw: "Doc Venture SENIOR, obviously."

Ummmmm, duh? But I think the world needs less key parties and more Atomic Robo. I, on the other hand, could also use a Doctor Mrs. Samizdata though...
posted by Samizdata at 8:41 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although he made it to the bottom, it sounds like a hydraulic failure is what cut the trip short, and prohibited use of most of the equipment.
posted by Big_B at 3:59 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


First footage of the bottom has been released (skip ahead to 1:12 although the rest of the video is interesting, especially when Cameron discusses shrinkage).
posted by jamaro at 4:28 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jeff Bezos has located Apollo 11’s long-lost engines at the bottom of the ocean

Team up!
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was just doing some digging on this topic in the context of the Titanic thread - and apparently Cameron reported that he landed on something "soft, and almost gelatinous".

.....Uh....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Squamous"
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on April 9, 2012


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