James Cameron has just made contact with the real-life abyss.
The King of the World can now crown himself the King of the Deep as he matched the 35,756 foot world record earlier today at 5:52 PM ET for the deepest dive ever with a solo excursion into the Western Pacific's famed Marianas Trench. The filmmaker even took to Twitter to share the excitement, writing, "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."
And just as you'd expect, he's filming the historic dive—in 3D no less!
To paraphrase a line from Aliens, Cameron was on an express elevator 7 miles down to a place only two other humans have gone previously. To put that in perspective, the director-turned-deep sea explorer plunged for two hours to the equivalent of where commercial airliners fly in the sky—or a point that's more than 6,000 feet lower than Mt. Everest at its peak if you flipped it upside down and stuck it in the Pacific.
Cameron's historic expedition to the bottom-most point of the Marianas Trench, aptly named the Challenger Deep, equaled the plunge taken a half century ago in 1960 by a U.S. Navy lieutenant and a Swiss oceanographer.
But unlike the former team who stayed on the bottom for only 20 minutes and reported seeing mostly murky clouds of sediment kicked up by their craft, the Titanic filmmaker plans to remain down in the frigid watery tundra in his Deepsea Challenger submersible for approximately 6 hours. He is only able to communicate with mission control above at that depth via text message.
For those thinking he might run into some xenomorphs (read Aliens), sorry to disappoint.
But with the aid of LED lights to illuminate the pitch black darkness, two 3-D cameras encased in titanium pressure casings mounted outside the sub and an Imax-quality HD camera mounted in the sub's interior by the small viewport, Cameron will record footage that no human has ever seen before.
After touring the bottom, the director will unload more than 1,000 pounds of iron ballast weights to the ocean floor and start the two-hour ascent back to the surface.
The dive is being sponsored by Cameron, Rolex and the National Geographic Society, where the filmmaker is an explorer-in-residence; the team has been chronicling the journey on its Website, deepseachallenge.com.
Not only will the vast amount of scientific data collected be put to good use, but Cameron plans turn the footage into a 3D Imax movie that will be released to theaters as well as a Nat Geographic special.
And no doubt, the experience will inspire him when he finally starts production on Avatar 2 and 3.
Have a safe journey, Mr. Cameron.