Movie director James Cameron recently climbed into a tiny capsule and descended more than seven miles to a completely remote, unexplored part of the ocean known as the Mariana Trench. Deeper than Mount Everest is tall, the trench is completely foreign territory to scientists who are only now beginning to find out what's down there.
Cameron's voyage to the bottom lasted more than two hours, even though the capsule he was in was sinking like a stone. Once on the ocean floor, the director spent three hours filming and it took him an hour to get back to the surface. The footage he gathered will be part of a 3-D movie and National Geographic special to be released in coming months.
"The impression to me was that it was a very lunar, very desolate place, very isolated. My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity," Cameron said of the experience.
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"There's always a very good chance of new species. We have already heard that Jim Cameron has seen some sea cucumbers down there, very small ones. So it will be fascinating. He is going to go back and collect some samples, we hope. We should get to see what is down there. When we're deeper than two miles -- and that's more than half our planet is covered by water that is two miles deep -- there's a 50-50 chance that we find new species." - Jon Copley, marine biologist, University of Southampton
1. What is the highest point on Earth?
2. What do you think the lowest point on Earth is?
3. Why do you think scientists know so little about what lies beneath the ocean?
1. Why do you think a film director was one of the first people to descend into the Mariana Trench?
2. Why did the windows on Cameron's capsule collapse several inches as he descended to the ocean floor? What caused that?
3. Do you think ocean exploration is important? Why or why not?
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