Director James Cameron on Sunday journeyed where no man has ever been: the deepest depths of the ocean.
National Geographic, his partner in the expedition, announced his sub had reached a depth of 35,756 feet — more than seven miles — "a figure unattainable anywhere else in the ocean."
Upon reaching the ocean floor, the filmmaker brought cheers from his support crew on the surface with the typed words: "All systems OK."
The "Titanic" and "Avatar" director was in a specially designed submarine that descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an area roughly 200 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam.
He began the dive at approximately 5:15 a.m. Monday, local time, according to Stephanie Montgomery of the National Geographic Society, where Cameron is an explorer-in-residence.
Cameron told The Associated Press in an interview after a 5.1 mile-deep practice run earlier this month that the pressure "is in the back of your mind."
The submarine would implode in an instant if it leaked, he said, because of the incredible water pressure at that depth. But he wasn't scared or nervous while underwater.
"When you are actually on the dive you have to trust the engineering was done right," he said.
The trench, according to National Geographic, is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall. It was expected to take Cameron 90 minutes to reach the bottom aboard his 12-ton sub called "Deepsea Challenger."
Once there, Cameron planned to spend six hours collecting samples for biologists and geologists to study. The return trip to the surface was forecast to take 70 minutes.
The only men who have accomplished the same feat were Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and US Navy Capt. Don Walsh in 1960. They took nearly five hours to reach the bottom and stayed just 20 minutes.
Cameron is a veteran oceanologist and has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives. The majority have been to the wreckage of the Titanic.