|Photo by (c)Mark Thiessen/National Geographic. |
Deep Sea Challenge
I've been out to sea with Cameron for a month on a Russian ship, diving on hydrothermal vents as a scouting cruise for Aliens of the Deep. Since I wasn't actually working for him, I saw less of the exacting and demanding hollywood producer and more of an explorer. Many a night was spent on the aft deck with a delicious bottle of wine discussing science and telling stories. He has a very passionate scientific mind. You can see this in his movies, which almost always contain science fiction, a keen sense of exploration, and the ocean. Avatar, though terrestrial or extra-terrestrial, contained life that resembled and bioluminesced like creatures inhabiting coral reefs. Titanic, he claims was, at least in part, driven by his desire to dive on the wreck of Titanic. Which he did for the movie using his director's retainer money, to move finely explore and image the wreck than ever before with custom ROVs (remotely operated vehicles - remote underwater robots). He was pushing forward ocean engineering over a decade ago.
|(c) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution|
My one complaint to Cameron is that he didn't make it much of a race. There was starting to be some hype about a 'Race to the Deep' - Cameron, Richard Branson, Sylvia Earle, and a commercial company. In the end, the other competitors haven't even made it to the starting line. While they unveiled sub plans, Cameron debuted the completed sub and started on an impressive test dive. A longer and more competitive 'race' would have heightened public awareness and kept this in the media spotlight longer.
Still it is a historic achievement and an advancement for science. Thank you Jim for your continued love and passion for the ocean!
|(c) National Geogrpahic|