James Cameron Leading Richard Branson in race to Challenger Deep

Telegraph UK – Hollywood director James Cameron is winning what has been called the “race to inner space” in a futuristic submersile he described as looking like “a clown car”. The 57-year-old Canadian-born director this week dived deeper than any other human on a solo mission at a record-breaking 5.1 miles. Cameron, the director of Titanic and Avatar, is trying to dive to the deepest place on Earth to return with specimens and images. His goal is to become the first human for more than 50 years to visit the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep, which plummets 6.8 miles down in the Pacific Ocean, and bring back data and specimens.

Richard Branson has also built a two-seater sub he says can survive a Challenger Deep descent but it seems Cameron is winning the battle to get there first.

The National Geographic and James Cameron have the Deepsea Challenge site

Deepsea Challenge Site

The Deepsea Challenger, which can sink upright, is 26 feet (eight meters) tall and took eight years to build. It uses specially designed foam to allow the new sub to weigh just 12 tonnes, about 12 times lighter than Trieste (the sub used in 1960). “It’s like a clown car in there,” Cameron said in a video statement. “You barely have room to get in, and then they hand you another 50 pounds of equipment.”

The Cameron-designed sub is expected to allow the director to spend around six hours on the seafloor during which he plans to collect samples and film his journey with several 3-D, high-definition cameras and an eight-foot-tall array of LED light

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