James Cameron is donating the Deepsea Challenger — the "Titanic" director sub used to dive a record 11,000 meters into the ocean exactly one year ago — to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as part of a scientific partnership announced on Tuesday.
The private, nonprofit organization will work with Cameron and his team to incorporate the sub’s numerous engineering advancements into future research platforms and deep-sea expeditions. Cameron will also serve on the Institution's Center for Marine Robotics advisory board.
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"WHOI is a world leader in deep submergence, both manned and unmanned," says Cameron, who has spent more than 3,000 hours underwater during 85 dives. "I’ve been informally associated with WHOI for more than 20 years, and I welcome this opportunity to formalize the relationship with the transfer of the Deepsea Challenger submersible system and science platform."
Cameron used the technology to make an unprecedented dive in 2012 to the deepest place on Earth — the Challenger Deep in the Marina Trench. The 35,787 feet solo dive was a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex, which will soon be seen on the big screen when Cameron's upcoming documentary, "Deepsea Challenge 3D," is released.
Cameron first began exploring the deep while directing 1989's "The Abyss," then went on to advance underwater cinematography and robotics during the production of numerous features and documentaries. In 1995, Cameron made 12 deep dives to the Titanic wreck in preparation for his 1997 blockbuster that is still the second-highest grossing movie of all time.
The filmmaker's other documentaries exploring the ocean deep include 2002's "Expedition: Bismarck," 2003's "Ghosts of the Abyss" and 2005's "Aliens of the Deep."