James Cameron's First Images of the Bottom of the World

By Jesus Diaz on at

Cameron went down to the deepest pit of hell and came back unscathed, having touched down on the Challenger abyss, exploring for three hours. "It's an alien world," he said, and these are his first images:

The footage—taken with 3D high-definition cameras and an 8-foot-long (2.5 metres) LED lamp—shows a place that looks like the surface of the Moon. But this alien world on Earth is not as dead as our silver satellite. There's life down there, according to the film director and explorer, though not much.

The trip had to be cut short because of a leak in his Deepsea Challenger, an alien looking ship herself. The 12-tonne ship is a beautiful design that, according to Cameron and the team behind the expedition, is much more maneuverable than older deep sea bathyscaphes and submarines, like Trieste or Alvin.


Not searching for giant krakens

Unlike Alvin, however, Deepsea Challenger wasn't attacked by a gigantic swordfish. Cameron didn't have any encounters of the third kind either, like in his 1989 movie Abyss.

In fact, he said that there were no traces of other beings, terrestrial or alien. He only saw amphipods barely an inch long. Far from being disappointed, he said, they weren't looking for giant krakens, only to explore. He believes that after this trip, they will find many surprises in the future trips that have planned with the Deepsea Challenger.

Perhaps the most striking thing was his sense of solitude and wonder when he was down there. After all, he has been the first man in history to reach this depth, trapped in a tiny steel sphere that shrunk to an even smaller size when he was down there -- the whole sub shrunk three inches inward, apparently.

Cameron referenced Neil Armstrong's feelings after his moon trip, comparing them to his own. Unlike Armstrong though, who says that he didn't have time to be aware about the fact that he was on the Moon, Cameron says that he had the time to stop and think when he touched ground and started to explore.

He felt the wonder of looking around him—and an overwhelming sense of solitude:

"My feeling was one of complete isolation from the rest of humanity."

I don't know what I'd prefer -- going down to those depths, or going up to space.