Explorer and filmmaker James Cameron just announced plans to donate the submarine he used last year to reach the oceans’ deepest point to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The engineering advancements of the high-tech submersible Deepsea Challenger will be incorporated into future research platforms and ocean research expeditions launched by the WHOI, which is one of the world’s leaders in ocean exploration.
Last year Cameron took the Challenger down into the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean to a depth of 35,787 feet (nearly 11,000 meters), becoming the first person to reach the deepest place on Earth. To mark the one-year anniversary of that voyage, Cameron is forming a partnership with WHOI, a private, non-profit organization located at Cape Cod, and donating the Deepsea Challenger.
Cameron used the submarine’s numerous engineering advancements such as innovative approaches to flotation, energy storage, camera and lighting systems in 13 piloted dives and 19 lander deployments to capture high-res 3D images of geological processes and species in the Mariana Trench in 2009. These technologies will be documented by WHOI scientists once the Deepsea Challenger reaches Woods Hole this summer. These solutions will then be applied to other exploration platforms that use AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).