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Director James Cameron Goes To Earth’s Deepest Point

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James Cameron. Image: Richard Burdett
Director James Cameron recently traveled in a submarine to the bottom of Mariana Trench. Image: Richard Burdett

Canadian movie director James Cameron is known for doing some amazing things, in a big way.

He has directed some of the biggest movie blockbusters ever including Avatar, The Terminator and Aliens.

In 1997 he directed the film he is perhaps best known for, Titanic.

This year–100 years after the original Titanic ship sank to the bottom of the ocean–Cameron has gone down to the ocean floor himself, to the deepest point on Earth.

Cameron completed a solo dive, in a submarine called the Deepsea Challenger, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

After spending nearly three hours there, he said he felt completely isolated from “all of humanity,” according to a video on the National Geographic website. He described it as a “barren, desolate lunar plain,” and said he appreciated the landscape there. He said he didn’t see any living creatures bigger than a 2.5 cm shrimp-like animal.

On the expedition he collected samples for scientists and shot some footage that will be used in at least one documentary film about the dive. Some people speculate that the footage will also be used in a sequel to his film Avatar.

In his role as a film director Cameron coaches and directs actors, and makes his vision for films come to life. In order to help make his vision for Titanic come to life, he went on 12 dives down to the ship’s actual remains to film footage for the movie.

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg on its journey to New York. Its remains now lie almost four kilometers below the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface, off the coast of Newfoundland.

Cameron’s dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench on March 26 took him 11.3 kilometers underneath the ocean surface, about 500 metres deeper than the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, is tall.

Only two other people, Jacques Piccard and Lieutenant Don Walsh, have seen the bottom of the trench. They made the first manned dive in 1960.

The deeper the water, the greater the water pressure is. At the depth Cameron went, the water pressure that his specially designed submarine was under was about six to seven tonnes per square inch, which is the same amount of pressure as having three SUVs on your little finger. His sub actually shrank three inches down there because of the pressure.

When they designed the 11-tonne, lime green submarine, engineers had to make sure the machine could withstand the tremendous water pressure.

If there had been any leaks the submarine would not have survived the dive. Since there is nowhere else as deep in the world, there was no way to test that the submarine could handle the pressure before Cameron’s dive, so scientists had to rely on math and physics to ensure the submarine was safe.

Fortunately, all of their calculations were correct.

Related website
For a fascinating brief video showing Cameron inside the submarine and showing the ocean floor, visit this page on National Geographic‘s website.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
James Cameron might use what he saw on his dive in an upcoming movie. How do real life experiences, like the one James Cameron had, help artists create their work?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Today’s article explains that James Cameron “felt completely isolated from “all of humanity” in the Pacific.  He described Mariana’s Trench as a “barren, desolate lunar plain.” He also said he didn’t see any living creatures bigger than a 2.5 cm shrimp-like animal.

Draw a picture of Mariana’s Trench using James Cameron’s description and your prior knowledge of life underwater.

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own
knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own
knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world
around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and
insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Italics
Italics are a font type that are used to show titles. In today’s article, italics are used to show the name of three James Cameron movies, National Geographic, the channel which aired Cameron’s expedition, and the name of the submarine he traveled in, Deepsea Challenger. Some writers use an underline or bold print to show titles. Which style do you like best? Why?