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In celebration of the return of human beings to the notorious Mariana Trench, I glommed these fabulous pictures off a pal’s thread for a slideshow here. Bravo to Mr. James Cameron, who went straight down – 7 miles – to the bottom of the sea. The real bottom of the sea.

That takes a staggering amount of right-stuff type bravery and, well, balls, seeing as how if your ship’s hull let go you’d be crushed as flat as a sheet of paper in a split second. Or less.

Let us all hope that the good film scenes we all dream that he shot will actually make it into the upcoming National Geographic documentary.

Must’ve happened… if only because of the fact that nearly every single time the ocean is visited, let alone explored, no matter where or how briefly, at least one brand-y new critter is stumbled upon. That tells ya something.

This is because the oceans of this planet, as I say often enough, are simply unknown to us. Really, they are.

Remember, of course, that the ocean covers just about 71 per cent of the surface of this planet.

It is amazing to know that in all of our known history, the sum total of the ocean’s floor that we have explored covers an area just about the size of the state of West Virginia.

I think that is pretty pathetic. No, I’m sorry, I made a mistake… that is seriously frikkin’ pathetic.

Don’t you think so? For those not from around these parts, West Virginia is not all that big. We have more data on the Moon, Mars, Mercury and Enceladus that we do for our own ocean.

Oh, wait… this just in! Speaking of Cameron’s film, here’s an official trailer…

Uploaded by on Mar 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 — In a state-of-the-art submersible, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and filmmaker James Cameron reached the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, breaking a world record for the deepest solo dive.

OK, it worked, I can’t wait.

Imagine what we could learn if only… but no, no way, man, there are people to kill, oil to drill, poppies to protect and money to be stolen, so we continue on in ignorance.

Oh dear. There I go again. Sorry.

In point of fact when the Trieste, on the 23rd of January, 1960, made it’s voyage to the very bottom of Challenger Deep at 35,800 feet they were met by a rather startled flatfish. You can see it in the video at 18:04. At a depth that threatened every second to squash the ship like a bug.

Uploaded by on Mar 12, 2012

In 1960, Lieutenant Don Walsh of the US Navy and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard navigated the Trieste bathyscaphe into the Mariana Trench. They accomplished a feat so incredible that it forever raised the bar for deep-ocean exploration.

Gosh, I  hate when WordPress.com suddenly publishes a post way before I’m finished. It’s really unsettling…

Destroys the creative flow, it does. Sigh. Anyway…

Here is a link to Triton Submarine’s page on the craft that Cameron apparently was to have used, according to the National Post, but that report was incorrect as he had been all along opting for a totally custom conveyance designed and built over the last seven years. It’s called the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.

Branson and his Mariana Trench ship.I am also wondering now in regards to what ever happened with the effort by Richard Branson of Virgin to attempt this same journey in a very different looking sub, pictured on the right.

There was to be a Race to the Bottom of the Sea, sponsored by the X-Prize Foundation, who was to award 10 million dollars to whoever got to the bottom of Challenger Deep first.

Did Branson give up? That doesn’t sound like him.

Will keep an eye out…

About the slideshow:
“These images were taken on one of the most recent dives into the trench (2008). There has been only 3 dives down (two unmanned and one manned), which makes these images a very rare sight.” The gold “starfish” on the white background isn’t… it is a representation of huge unicellular critters (Giant “Amoebas!”) – up to 10 centimeters large! Read more about those guys here.

Kudos to StealthyKat, the Cajun Goddess, for her thread, which you should read if you’re into this at all.

Peace.

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