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James Cameron donates his $10 million deep sea submarine to ocean research group

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Deepsea Challenger
Deepsea Challenger

It's the one-year anniversary of James Cameron's expedition into the deepest crevice of the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, and the director / oceanographer is celebrating generously. Today Cameron announced that he will donate his privately-developed submarine, the $10 million Deepsea Challenger, to further ocean research at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Masachussetts.

"Our sub is a scientific proof-of-concept, and our partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a way to provide the technology we developed to the oceanographic community," Cameron said in a statement. A longtime advocate of deep sea research, he will join Woods Hole as an adviser.

The sub took seven years to develop

The sub took seven years to develop and incorporated several innovative features, including a unique vertical design and a tiny stereoscopic camera capable of withstanding high pressure. Last year, Cameron's first expedition in the Deepsea Challenger set a world record for the deepest solo dive at 5.1 miles. He and his crew followed up with a 6.7 mile dive — deeper than an inverted Mt. Everest.

Cameron's best known for his blockbuster films, but his fascination with the ocean is reflected in both Titanic and The Abyss, which was hailed as the "most ambitious underwater movie ever attempted." The daredevil director is already planning his next deep dive; at this rate, his science resume may one day rival his IMDB profile.