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James Cameron Commissions Submarine To Visit Challenger Deep 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the ed-harris-can-probably-help-you-out dept.
frank249 writes "In January, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Trieste descent, the X Prize Foundation announced a $10 million prize for the first privately funded craft to make two manned descents to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest surveyed point in the oceans. Now, James Cameron has announced he has commissioned a submarine capable of surviving the tremendous pressures at a depth of seven miles, from which he will not only try for the X prize but also shoot 3D footage that may be incorporated in Avatar's sequel."
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James Cameron Commissions Submarine To Visit Challenger Deep

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  • Sequel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Evil (3501) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:42PM (#33614936)

    Oh no.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      Don't worry. The descent is a risky venture. There's a very good chance the submarine will fail at depth, costing Cameron his life and the world the opportunity to see a sequel.

      Not that I personally wish Cameron any harm, of course.

      Ideally, the submarine will fail at a very survivable depth on the way down (or on the way back up, but in such a way that the footage is destroyed), he'll resurface unharmed, and he'll take that as a sign from [insert_deity_or_external_force_here] that Avatar, like Terminator

      • Re:Sequel? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by derGoldstein (1494129) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:57PM (#33615114) Homepage

        ...that Avatar, like Terminator and Alien and The Matrix, is a movie that should never, ever, ever have a sequel.

        Terminator *2* was the good one. People remember Arnold fighting the T1000, not some soft human.
        And you can edit the Matrix Reloaded down to about 50 minutes of entertainment.

        • Re:Sequel? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mark72005 (1233572) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:38PM (#33615574)
          The Matrix should have had sequels.

          It should have had sequels that didn't suck.
        • Nah, I've got to disagree with you there. IMHO, I'd much rather watch a lower-budget movie with a really good plot (Terminator) than a weak plot with high-budget special effects (T2). Don't get me wrong; the original had it's flaws* but it's by far my favorite.

          If you had said Aliens2 rather than T2, I'd have to agree with you.

          *The dialog was often a little forced, and I would have like Linda Hamilton to have been a bit stronger of a character -- although not quite the caricature she became in T2.
          • If you had said Aliens2 rather than T2, I'd have to agree with you.

            The Alien series is harder because none of the films was a similar format, so it's hard to compare. Aliens was a great space-marine action film, but Alien had more atmosphere. 3 and 4, again, were very different - 4 was a shiny special effects modern SciFi film, which people hated largely because it was so different from the others in the series. 3 was... well, 3 was terrible, but the early script drafts were interesting.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              3 was... well, 3 was terrible, but the early script drafts were interesting.

              I love how people always caveat 3 with the 'Oh the potential of those tossed scripts'. I had high hopes for the dump I took this morning too, doesn't change the end result.

          • Re:Sequel? (Score:5, Funny)

            by superdave80 (1226592) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:11PM (#33615848)

            "...a lower-budget movie with a really good plot (Terminator) than a weak plot with high-budget special effects (T2)."

            Yeah, I much preferred the original's plot about a killer robot sent back in time to kill the mother of mankind's savior. T2's plot of a killer robot sent back in time to kill mankind's savior was weak...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shivetya (243324)

          and certainly Aliens 2 was great in its own right. What came after that....

          The ultimate kick in the nuts for sequels has to go to Highlander.

          I would also say that Empire Strikes Back is better than Star Wars. Star Trek 2 certainly topped Star Trek the Movie.

          So, it is not always that sequels fare worse than their lead in movie, it just seems to be of late most are to advance the bank accounts of the stars instead of the story.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ink (4325)

          Terminator 2 was the HORRIBLE one, from a science fiction point of view. It was filled with time travel nonsense that led to either an infinite universe theory, or an infinitely changeable universe theory -- either of which leaves the viewer with an unsatisfying conclusion (hello Star Trek: Voyager). "No fate but what we make" -- or that you can travel back in time to change it, while somehow retaining the memories of the now-extinct timeline -- implies that the entire plot could be undone by some other s

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by h4rm0ny (722443)
            The TV Series: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, expands on what you see as flaws in the time travel plotting. It's quite interesting when two people who know each other from the future have both come back and meet and although initially everything is fine, they realise at some point that each is not who they think the other is - they remember some important events differently, revealing that the one that came back first did change the future and the one that came back second is from that altered future, but the
      • Re:Sequel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:05PM (#33615208)
        The first Alien movie was good, but the second one, Aliens, although completely different in tone, was better. There were no other sequels. Period. That is all.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by RichiH (749257)

          I agree, Aliens is a lot better than Alien.

          Alien 3 was OKish for some value of. After that... GAH!

      • by hedwards (940851)
        You do realize that they can do quite a bit of testing on the surface, right? For the amount of money involved here, it would surprise me if they didn't have some means of testing it prior to launch without endangering anybody's life.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)

        Terminator had a sequel, and a good one. Not sure why you think that Avatar shouldn't have one. There is potential there, much as there was in Star Wars after "A New Hope". And so far, Cameron seems to be able to actually tell a decent story, completely unlike Lucas.

        So I'm actually looking forward to an Avatar sequel.

        Now if we're talking Highlander....

      • Re:Sequel? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yBLUEahoo.com minus berry> on Friday September 17, 2010 @07:13PM (#33616250) Homepage Journal

        Are you crazy? both the Terminator sequel and the Aliens Sequel we're awesome and well made movies.

        And Avatar was a fine movie, the was beautiful toy watch, even if the plot was one that had been done several times before.

        Ideally he will be success, add further to mans knowledge, help advance science in a small way, and go on to to do an Avatar Sequel you will be free to not see.

        Of course you will come up with a reason to see it anyway, and then complain about how bad t is so you can look like you are a hip nerd.

        HINT: nerds aren't haters.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        I posit a different solution. He gets all the way down and instead of seeing friendly glow-in-the-dark alien jellyfish things, he comes face-to-tentacle with loathly lord Cthulhu. Then he spends the rest of his life screaming and rocking back and forth on top of a mountain. Until the Fungi from Yuggoth get him. Best result all round, really.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Don't worry, it'll give you sci-fi snobs another movie to look down your nose at. Of course, while you're standing in line to watch it for the 3rd time, buying the Blu-Ray disk, updating your home theater system to get the most out of the experience, and looking for places on the internet to tell other snobs how much you hated it.

      • Lemme guess... You liked Transformers 2? Oh, those wacky robots!
      • You don't have to be a snob to realize that without the (very technically impressive) 3d and CG work it would be a pretty lackluster film.
        • by Pojut (1027544)

          You do, however, have to be a snob to believe people watch it for the story, and not the CG work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kilrah_il (1692978)

          I thought it was a good movie with a story told very well. The 3D added a lot, but I believe it would have been a good movie even without it. Since the hype was over the 3D, it tended to make people disregard the rest of the movie. Yes, the plot is not original, but you can say that about 95% of (Hollywood) movies today. Cameron took a storyline (Pocahontas) and used it as a basis for a futuristic action movie.

      • So? It's not like it will ever be as good as Dune. /noseup
    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      It's my understanding that a sequel was planned before the first was even released. Whether it would be produced was dependent on the success of Avatar. And I have to admit I'm looking forward to it. As goofy and simplistic as the plot was I found Avatar to be very entertaining, and normally it's quite difficult for me to get past a weak plot.

    • Re:Sequel? (Score:4, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:23PM (#33615410)

      Did I say sequel to Avatar? I meant it was a sequel to "Titanic." It's a tragic love story between two deep-sea invertebrates living on the hull of the titanic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lgw (121541)

        I might actually see that: at least it would be a movie with some depth.

    • Nope. CIA cover, along the lines of Howard Hughs and the Glomar Explorer.
    • by antdude (79039)

      Abyss 2! :D

  • Sooo (Score:3, Funny)

    by locallyunscene (1000523) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:43PM (#33614942)
    Smurfs underwater?

    *Ducks*
  • Now I know the sequel is going to take place underwater. You fuckers ruined it for me!

  • But if James Cameron is on board, Adrian Grenier [wikipedia.org] better be too.
    • by Haffner (1349071)
      Didn't you see the part about it being a sequel? Adrian Grenier doesn't do sequels for less than $20 million.
      • by hedwards (940851)
        Which is probably just an excuse to not do sequels. Not that I can blame him, sequels are typically really bad for a person's career. $20m will take the sting off of just about anything.
  • *shudder* (Score:5, Funny)

    by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:50PM (#33615024)

    Titanatar 2

    "God Himself could not sink this tree!"

    • Titanator 2

      "I'll be broke"
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      I was pondering the same thing... What part of Avatar was under water? Can those crazy blue alien people now ride 7-mile-deep diving creatures of some sort, for what is presumably a spiritual journey of self-accomplishment and occasional calamity?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by arkane1234 (457605)

        It seems anything that is different than our own culture is ultimately spiritually fulfilling and perfection.

      • Maybe the selfishness and corporatism of the Human race, which will one day spawn some interstellar Godwin's Law, somehow caused the blue kittens' world to be flooded.
  • Sad, actually (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:53PM (#33615062) Journal

    To clarify: I find it a bit sad that humanity just isn't capable of building on pre-existing accomplishments, solutions and ideas. The Trieste [wikipedia.org] has already achieved this goal 50 years ago, as the summary states, so why would this be such a difficult challenge? We had the technology half a century ago, and it worked perfectly well.

    Sort of like the Apollo program - almost half a century after, we are not capable to go to the moon - we simply and stupidly "forgot" how to do it. The great designers and engineers left and/or died off, and we, as humankind, went on with out collective dicks in our collective hands.

    • The reason nobody's done those things again is that with advances in robotic technology, the only reason to send people to either the moon or the Challenger Deep is for a photo op. Both have already been done, and "me too" snapshots just aren't nearly as compelling.

      • The reason nobody's done those things again is that with advances in robotic technology, the only reason to send people to either the moon or the Challenger Deep is for a photo op. Both have already been done, and "me too" snapshots just aren't nearly as compelling.

        And how are we going to colonize other planets, such as Mars, if we don't colonize the Moon, first? How are we going to build a permanent base on Mars if we don't do it on the Moon, first?

        The Moon itself may or may not be scientifically interesting, but it's a great staging and study ground for subsequent missions. If we don't know how to get our asses to the Moon, sure as hell we won't be able to get them to other planets or asteroids.

        And robotic missions? Really? How is that 40 minutes signal roundtrip t

        • And how are we going to colonize other planets, such as Mars, if we don't colonize the Moon, first?

          We don't. There is absolutely no reason to colonize Mars. The planet has nothing of value on it beyond science info, which can be collected with machines.

          Maybe it's worth sending humans on an Apollo-style mission to plant a flag, snap photos, and pick up bragging rights, but that's about it.

          A robotic probe on Mars will do in 10 years about as much work as one man or woman would do in one day

          That's BS. First of all, people would be spending 99% of their time and effort trying to keep their own meatbag asses alive. Moreover, probes, (or better still, entire robotic science bases), can patiently do their work

      • Not to mention we're busy wasting trillions of dollars on nebulous domestic spending programs to visit a rock that doesn't have the juice it did back in the day.
    • Re:Sad, actually (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheUnFounded (731123) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:07PM (#33615230)
      On the other hand, it got them there, but didn't do a whole lot of good. From Wikipedia:

      "The descent took almost five hours and the two men spent barely twenty minutes on the ocean floor before undertaking the three-hour-and-fifteen-minute ascent. Their early departure from the ocean floor was due to their concern over a crack in the window caused by the intense pressure of their descent, and also because their landing on the sea bed had stirred up a cloud of silt which reduced visibility to zero and showed no sign of settling." So hopefully the new technology will give us a longer, more interesting time at the bottom...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      We didn't forget how to go to the moon, we stopped investing the resources in maintaining the capability. The moon was a great accomplishment in terms of jump starting the space program, but there wasn't really a whole lot of quality science coming out of it. Not like today, the science being done in orbit is much, much better than what we were doing back then.

      We could get back to the moon pretty quickly if we wanted to, it's mostly a matter of do we really want to spend the resources to do it? We also h
      • I think if you went back there today, all those Atari 2600 Pac-Man cartridges would hold the silt down.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Actually the Trieste was not very maneuverable. Hopefully this new sub will actually maneuver and poke around a bit. The Trieste to put in space terms was Viking or maybe Apollo 11.
      This new on will be Spirt or Apollo 17 if you like

      And the US could go to the moon again if we had the will. Russia could also probably do it. The EU could but it would take them a bit longer since there experience with Man rated craft is limited.
      China or India could do it in between 10 and 15 years.

    • Re:Sad, actually (Score:4, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:47PM (#33615664)

      To clarify: I find it a bit sad that humanity just isn't capable of building on pre-existing accomplishments, solutions and ideas. The Trieste [wikipedia.org] has already achieved this goal 50 years ago, as the summary states, so why would this be such a difficult challenge? We had the technology half a century ago, and it worked perfectly well.

      Sure. And take aeronautics. Clearly we should have stopped in the 1800s with functional gliders. Or maybe the early 1900s with powered flight. I mean... surely the Wright Brothers should have just put away their wind tunnels and called it a day before doing all this testing. By the mid-1900's it was just getting silly. The 1940's saw jet engines - as if that wasn't just coat-tail riding in it's fullest. And as if this hasn't all Been Done by world Governments, private commercial aviation has to get in to the mix. What the heck were these guys thinking?

      Sort of like the Apollo program - almost half a century after, we are not capable to go to the moon - we simply and stupidly "forgot" how to do it. The great designers and engineers left and/or died off, and we, as humankind, went on with out collective dicks in our collective hands.

      Yeah - I'm sure it's all about lost knowledge and nothing about the resources it took to accomplish these things. It's not like going to the moon is involved or anything. On a more serious note - you should go download yourself a copy of the CAIB Report and look in to the chapter that talks about funding; specifically comparing the Apollo era to today.

  • I'm afraid that's what happen to anything transparent.

  • Sequel (Score:3, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday September 17, 2010 @04:57PM (#33615108)

    also shoot 3D footage that may be incorporated in Avatar's sequel.

    I think that it would be better to film for a sequel to Das Boot. We could watch the nervous faces of the crew look around as the metal hull of the submarine makes sickening groans under the increasing pressure. Every so often, a pipe would spring a leak and a burly guy in a tank top would have to tighten it with a huge monkey wrench. Then more guys would have to use sledge hammers jam wooden timbers into bulging bulkheads. Finally there would be life-and-death drama when the ballast fails to release at the bottom of the trench. That would make for a riveting thriller.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Not really necessary, we can already do that via special effects. Putting somebody's life in jeopardy like this is just plain silly.
  • clever tax deduction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:07PM (#33615234) Homepage Journal
    Oh, this guy just wants to have an adventure and take the cost of it out of his taxes. I doubt he'll get any usable footage, but the expedition will qualify nonetheless.

    Seth
  • as a scientist (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:11PM (#33615284) Homepage
    i have to say, yeah, this is a spectacular piece of news for cameron and a great promo for his next film. "i want to shoot for the stars" is a great thrill, but the fact of the matter is, a submarine capable of withstanding 8TPI of seawater pressure is not the same as say, commissioning a rolls royce with a custom paint job. That is, just because you say it needs to happen, and you might throw "lots" of money at it, does not mean it will even get off the drawing board. The Soviet military once built a submarine called Komsomolets capable of a 1000 meter dive, but thats still roughly 8000 meters short of the target depth our television director wants.
    • meaning: the guy is not a hollywood idiot

      i mean shape memory alloy turned into a villain in t2? or superconducting islands of rock in the air? the man is a true science geek in the vein of anyone else writing here on slashdot

      so if anyone is going to get this thing built, with the money cameron has, he's going to do it, because he most certainly understands all of the objections you raised in your post. he is also diving fanatic, he got cameras to the titanic site, his technical and science acumen is outstanding

      a science geek and an extremely successful movie director. frankly, cameron makes me completely jealous

    • by swillden (191260)

      Well, the Trieste did it, so there's at least one workable design already. And Steve Fossett had already commissioned a submarine that was designed, built and ready to begin sea trials. It was designed using kevlar and carbon fiber, rather than the five inch thick steel sphere of the Trieste, but I would think that we know enough about those materials that the designer had a high degree of confidence that the design could take the pressure (plus a solid safety margin) before bothering to build it.

      Yes, t

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:13PM (#33615312)
    "We're gonna re-re-re-re-remake Avatar right there (pointing at globe). No, not in the ocean, inside the ocean, in the heaviest, deepest, most brutal part - the MARIANA TREEEEENNCH! We're gonna call the sequal Avatar 2: BLOOOOD OCEAN!"

    .
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:21PM (#33615390)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096754/ [imdb.com] is the kind of movie requiring some real submarine footage. The other one's Smurfahontas in CGI (quite an accomplishment nonetheless - that should be spared the sad sequel fate of Highlander) - so why would anyone risk their life (and/or sub) for what they could so convincingly render in 3D anyway?
    • by Intron (870560)

      I think the more likely inspiration is Wild Blue Yonder [imdb.com] which was a fantastic looking movie with an inane plot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by boxwood (1742976)

      Inspiration mostly. See some weird things and put them in the movie.

      What did you think he just made up all of the flora and fauna in the first one? A lot of the plants on Pandora are actually coral that lives underwater here on Earth.

      It was pretty cool seeing some plants in the movie and thinking "hey those look like those corals that hide when you touch them" and then see exactly that happen a couple of seconds later.

  • ghosts of the abyss, aliens of the deep... now avatar ii

    frankly, james cameron is a deep sea diving enthusiast who made the mistake of having a career as a successful movie maker

    its almost like he chooses his movies just so he can play with deep sea diving equipment. and the whole "making massive amounts of money with extremely successful pop movies" is an afterthought to his real passion in life. bizarre

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "bizarre"

      Not bizarre, but brilliant, even better than Bob Ballard getting DoD sponsorship for his Titanic hunt.

  • Purpose? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:25PM (#33616946) Homepage

    The previous X Prize challenges have all been in areas with obvious practical benefits. For instance, private space flight will open up a lot of industrial applications. High fuel efficiency cars are clearly of great benefit.

    Are there any known expected benefits to a private vehicle that can reach the Challenger Deep, or is any benefit purely speculative? Considering that this will be one of the more dangerous X Prize challenges, I'd hope they have some serious benefits in mind.

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