Five Fast Facts About the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE

Wednesday’s post explained a bit about the new branding and direction for the National Geographic Education blog–look for more information about that in the coming months. More importantly for our current purposes, we also mentioned that we will be focusing on DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a historic event in ocean exploration, over the coming weeks. If you recall, James Cameron announced to the world this past Wednesday that he will be setting off (or rather, down) in a solo submersible that will take him to the bottom of the ocean and the deepest known place on Earth: Challenger Deep, located in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

DEEPSEACHALLENGE_logo_crop_475x300.jpgHere are five fast facts about the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition to digest as you’re brewing your morning coffee this Saturday–and then regurgitate during your evening cocktail hour to impress your friends (the facts, not the coffee–that would be gross).

: National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Hollywood film director James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Avatar). While the dive itself is a solo venture, a dedicated team of scientists and engineers will support Cameron.

What: The DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition is an attempt by James Cameron to explore the deepest part of the ocean. While at the bottom, Cameron will perform important scientific experiments and collect media (i.e. photos, video).


Photo of James Cameron by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

When: Right now! On Wednesday, March 7, James Cameron announced that he
would be attempting this great exploratory feat over the coming weeks.
We’ll be following along on the Nat Geo Education blog, as will the
larger National Geographic community. You can see the latest updates from the crew

Where:  At more than (36,000 feet) below sea level, Challenger Deep is the
deepest known spot in the ocean and on Earth, a narrow crevice in the
Mariana Trench. The Mariana Trench is a huge, crescent-shaped oceanic
trench near Guam in the western Pacific. It is more than 1,500 miles long, with
an average width of 60 miles.

Why: In 1966, H. B. Stewart wrote that, “Only the ocean remains as the
last great unexplored portion of our globe; so it is to the sea that man
must turn to meet the last great challenge of exploration this side of
outer space.”  It is often said that we know more about the surface of
the moon than we do about our own oceans. James Cameron is seeking to
change this. By attempting to do what only one living man has done
before (in 1960 Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard traveled down 10,912 meters [35,800 feet] in
the Trench), Cameron will be breaking both old and new ground–adding to a
rich history of explorers before him, and bringing new information to
the surface (literally).

The National Geographic Education blog is very excited to be covering
such a momentous event in the history of exploration and oceanographic
science. We plan to share daily updates with you, along with expert
commentary from our team of guest bloggers, and suggestions for
incorporating the expedition into your classroom. So look for a few new posts from our guest bloggers this weekend, and even more posts next week. We hope that you
continue to follow along with us as a new era of deepsea exploration is


Illustration of Jame’s Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGER sub courtesy
Acheron Project Pty Ltd

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