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Images: Cameron's Dive to Earth's Deepest Spot

The First Test of the Deepsea Challenger

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

Crews prepare DEEPSEA CHALLENGER for its first test in the ocean at Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, Australia. In the coming weeks the submersible will travel to the bottom of the Mariana Trench as the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by explorer and filmmaker James Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

In Honor of Their Contributions

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Brook Rushton)

Pictured with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron (far right) and Don Walsh (far left), who was aboard the only other successful manned descent to the Mariana Trench in 1960, are world-renowned filmmakers and explorers Mike deGruy (middle) and Andrew Wight, who were killed in a helicopter crash in Australia in February. The DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team will honor DeGruy and Wight's memory by moving forward with the expedition to the Mariana Trench as a tribute to them and their contributions to the project.

Preparing for the Trip

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Brook Rushton.)

Explorer and filmmaker James Cameron inside the pressure sphere simulator at Acheron Project offices in Sydney, Australia. The actual sphere where Cameron will sit aboard the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER during his descent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench has an interior diameter of 43 inches and provides life support, communications and control of the submersible. The vessel is the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

For Safety Sake

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the submersible designed by explorer and filmmaker James Cameron and his engineering team to travel to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, is lowered into the water for testing off the coast of Australia. The vessel is the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

The Original Success

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Thomas J. Abercrombie)

After their successful nine-hour dive in January 1960 to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard emerge from the bathyscaphe Trieste. In the coming weeks, explorer and filmmaker James Cameron will attempt to make only the second successful manned descent to this deepest part of the ocean. The dive will mark the launch of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Taking the (First) Plunge

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible begins its first 2.5-mile (4-km) test dive off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The sub is the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by explorer and filmmaker James Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

More In-Water Testing

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

Crews continue in-water testing in Papua New Guinea of DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the submersible that explorer and filmmaker James Cameron will pilot to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The vessel is the centerpiece of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Success Celebrated

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Thomas J. Abercrombie)

Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh emerge from the bathyscaphe Trieste following their successful manned descent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in January 1960. In the coming weeks, 52 years later, explorer and filmmaker James Cameron will attempt to make the second successful manned dive to the deepest part of the ocean. The dive will mark the launch of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific project by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Sent Off with Good Wishes

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron gets a handshake from ocean explorer and U.S. Navy Capt. Don Walsh, right, just before the hatch on the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible is closed and the voyage to the deepest part of the ocean begins. Walsh took the same journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench 52 years ago in the bathyscaphe Trieste with Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard. Cameron is the first person to complete the dive solo. The dive was part of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Bon Voyage

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible carrying filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron is hoisted into the Pacific Ocean on its way to the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The dive was part of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.

Thumbs Up!

deepsea challenger, james cameron, mariana trench, deep ocean research dive, solo deep sea dive

(Image credit: ©Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron gives two thumbs-up as he emerges from the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. The dive was part of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research.