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James Cameron's solo dive to the ocean's deepest spot

Filmmaker uses his fame to draw attention to the need for research into the world's ocean's, making the first ever solo dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

James Cameron's record-setting dive
Filmmaker James Cameron traveled in a vessel he helped design to Challenger Deep -- the deepest part of the ocean. Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

James Cameron is a man who clearly likes to collect records. Already, the famous film director has twice broken the record for highest-grossing movie of all time, first with "Titanic," and later with "Avatar." But in 2012, he went for a very different kind of mark: the deepest solo sea dive in history.

On March 25, Cameron piloted a submersible known as the Deepsea Challenger to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, fully 35,756 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. He was not the first to make that dive -- Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard did it together in 1960 -- but no one had ever gone down alone. Of course, Cameron couldn't do it just to do it. His vessel was loaded down for scientific discovery with multiple 3D cameras, an LED tower for illumination, a sediment sampler, a robotic claw, and a "slurp gun" for catch small oceanic creatures.

For more on this story, see Daniel Terdiman's story here.

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