At 5am this morning Titanic director James Cameron broke the world record for undersea exploring when he reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the lowest place on the planet.
“The impression to me, it was very lunar, a very desolate place, very isolated,” Cameron said. “My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity. I felt like I had literally in the space of one day gone to another planet and come back.” As he piloted the futuristic mini-submarine he helped design across the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, at a depth of 35,576 feet, Cameron searched for life. “We’d all like to think there are giant squid and sea monsters down there,” he said. There weren’t. He saw no fish, either. He found “nothing larger than about an inch across” — shrimp-like scavenger creatures called amphipods. Cameron described extremes of pressure and temperature like those experienced by space travelers. He scrunched himself into a tiny metal pilot sphere “kind of like a Mercury astronaut,” the first American space travelers.
Cameron’s bid to collect samples was cut short when the crushing pressure destroyed the hydraulic fluid line for the sub’s robotic arm. Below is a photo slideshow of the dive.