Cameron kicked off the cross-country journey of the one-man sub at the California Science Center on Saturday, June 1. Following his speech and a ceremony in his honor, Cameron explained in an interview that once the sub reaches its new home at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, it wil be put in a “dormant” state but can easily be made operational again.
“Making it operational is really funding for ship time, which really boils down to fuel to get it out to some of these remote sites for diving,” said Cameron. “So at some point, ideally, we’ll go raise millions of dollars together to go take the sub out on a new program. If it happens without me, it can happen at any point, if it happens with me, it has to happen after the ‘Avatar’ films.”
Cameron took the Deepsea Challenger to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on in the Earth’s oceans, in March 2012. He was only the third person to reach that depth — more than 35,000 feet — and the first to go there solo. The voyage will be subject of an upcoming documentary, “Deepsea Challenge 3D.”
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The California Science Center event marked the first time the submersible had been shown in public. Cameron donated the submersible to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in March. It is being taken there by truck, with stops along the way at schools and science centers to promote science education.
Cameron said “The primary activity at Wood’s Hole is going to be to harvest the IP value of all the technologies that were developed for the vehicle. … We’re turning over all drawings and test results and so on. So that the knowledge that was gained in this project will then become resident at Wood’s Hole Oceanographic, and from there published and disseminated to the rest of the research community. Because we created four or five brand new technologies for this vehicle that the rest of the deep sea community could really use.”
To the strains of the UCLA marching band, Cameron received a certificate from the City of Los Angeles saluting his accomplishments. In his address, he hailed the small team of engineers who invented technologies for the sub. Turning his attention to the many young people in attendance, Cameron said: “The message that I would like to emphasize here is, and I think what this sub ultimately symbolizes, is how important it is to believe in yourself.
“You already own the most important thing to do anything you want do in life. … It’s the most sophisticated computer ever created. And there are a couple of apps that run on that computer that you all have. One’s called curiosity, and the other’s called imagination. You put those two powerful apps running on this little three-pound computer, you can do just about anything you put your mind to.”