From the President’s Office – 3/30/2012
As I am sure you have probably heard from the tremendous amount of media coverage over the last few days, film director James Cameron successfully made a solo dive to the deepest point in the ocean, the Challenger Deep, a trough within the Mariana Trench more than 35,000 feet below the ocean surface. This follows on the dive of Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the Navy bathyscaphe, Trieste, in 1960. What makes Cameron’s dive unique is the new technology. He was able to reach the ocean floor in only two and a half hours and ascended in seventy minutes, about 7 miles an hour. One intriguing aspect of the vehicle is that is has a vertical decent and ascent capability. In addition, he had three dimensional camera systems on board. It helps to be a movie producer! I hope a considerable amount of this new technology is transitioned to our community’s deep sea capabilities, including both human and robotic vehicles.
For our community, this visibility is extremely important. Not only does this latest venture highlight the ocean, it also brings the importance of research to the forefront. Cameron is quite sincere in his intellectual interest in the ocean, so the attention the ocean is receiving this week is quite positive for enhancing the importance of research in understanding how the ocean works. I look forward to more of his expeditions when the vehicle’s manipulator arm is operable, and he is able to collect samples. We all know how important basic ocean research is; through people like Cameron, the rest of the world will be made more aware of it as well.
Congress will be on recess for the next two weeks so it should be quiet here in Washington on that front. But, you never know in this town! Stay tuned.
Have a nice weekend.