'Titanic' and 'Avatar' director James Cameron reaches ocean's deepest point [Updated]
After seven years of preparation and several days of waiting out bad weather, "Titanic" and "Avatar" director James Cameron became the first person to reach the deepest point in the world's oceans in a solo dive on Sunday.
At 2:52 p.m. Pacific time (7:52 a.m. local time), Cameron arrived at the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep, a depth of 35,756 feet in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Guam, according to National Geographic.
The director shared the news via Twitter, tweeting at about 3 p.m., "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."
[Update 7:13 p.m. Sunday: Cameron surfaced from the historic dive at approximately 7 p.m. Pacific time, after a faster-than-expected 70-minute ascent, according to National Geographic.]
Cameron helped design a torpedo-shaped submersible called the Deepsea Challenger, which he rode in nearly seven miles to the earth's floor, becoming only the third person to reach the depth and the first to do it alone. His first words to his crew upon reaching the bottom were, "All systems OK," according to National Geographic, which has partnered with Cameron on the endeavor.
The director plans to spend up to six hours in the trench collecting samples of sediment and small sea creatures and shooting still images and 3D footage of life on the deep sea floor. Then Cameron will drop 1,000 pounds of ballast weight and the sub will ascend to his research vessels on the ocean surface.
If all goes according to plan, the director will make a hasty return to his day job--film studios Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox are expecting him at the London premiere of "Titanic 3D" on Tuesday.
Photo: James Cameron in front of the Deepsea Challenger. Credit: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic