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Filmmaker James Cameron plans record 7-mile ocean dive

The Associated Press, Thursday, March 8, 2012, 12:10pm (PST)
  • Los Angeles (AP) -- James Cameron has gone two and a half miles underwater dozens of times to view the wreck of the Titanic. Now the "Avatar" and "Titanic" filmmaker aims to go nearly three times as deep with his latest ocean dive.

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    Cameron said Thursday he plans to take a submersible craft down seven miles to the world's deepest point, in the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean, 200 miles southwest of Guam.

    The journey later this month reportedly would be the deepest solo dive ever, breaking Cameron's own record set this week, when he descended five miles off the coast of Papua, New Guinea, in the South Pacific.

    Cameron will be the first person to descend to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, known as the "Challenger Deep," since a two-man U.S. Navy expedition did it in 1960.

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    Those explorers spent just 20 minutes on the ocean floor, according to the National Geographic Society, a partner in the Cameron expedition and for whom the filmmaker was named an explorer-in-residence in 2011. Cameron will spend six hours at the bottom of the trench, collecting scientific samples.

    "The deep trenches are the last unexplored frontier on our planet, with scientific riches enough to fill a hundred years of exploration," Cameron said in a statement.

    Cameron, who has been an oceanography enthusiast since childhood, has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives, including 33 to the Titanic, the subject of his 1997 blockbuster. A 3-D version of "Titanic" comes out April 4, timed to the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

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