(p. D1) A new generation of daredevils is seeking to plunge through nearly seven miles of seawater to the bottom of a rocky chasm in the western Pacific that is veiled in perpetual darkness. It is the ocean’s deepest spot. The forbidding place, known as the Challenger Deep, is so far removed from the warming rays of the sun that its temperature hovers near freezing.
“When I was a kid, I loved not only amazing ocean exploration but space, too,” James Cameron, the director of “Avatar,” “Titanic” and “The Abyss,” said in an interview. “I can think of no greater fantasy than to be an explorer and see what no human eye has seen before.”
The would-be explorers can afford to live their dreams because of their extraordinarily deep pockets. Significantly, their ambitions far exceed those of the world’s seafaring nations, which have no plans to send people so deep.
The billionaires and millionaires include Mr. Cameron, the airline mogul Richard Branson and the Internet guru Eric E. Schmidt. Each is building, planning to build or financing the construction of minisubmarines meant to transport them, their friends and scientists into the depths. Entrepreneurs talk of taking tourists down as well.
The vehicles, meant to hold one to three people, are estimated to cost anywhere from $7 million to $40 million.
For the full story, see:
WILLIAM J. BROAD. “Ambitions as Deep as Their Pockets.” The New York Times (Tues., August 2, 2011): D1 & D4.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated August 1, 2011.)