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Mariana Trench Probed by James Cameron in Solo Dive

James Cameron returned this weekend from the deepest solo dive on record from the Marianas Trench’s Challenger Deep. In this photo, Cameron speaks onstage at the 63rd Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland on January 29, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for DGA

James Cameron has taken another giant leap for mankind in his quest to go from “king of the world” to king of the deep.

This weekend the director returned from a record-breaking solo trip to the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep—the planet’s deepest ocean area. Cameron descended to the 6.8 mile deep undersea valley in a 2.5 story-tall “vertical torpedo” submarine and spent hours moving along the trench’s seafloor and cliff walls, utilizing a robotic arm and “slurp gun” to collect sediment and small sea creatures for study.

The haul from Cameron’s trip included scientific data, specimens, and a 3-D recording of his adventure, and may signal a renaissance in deep-sea study. A full report on the findings will be released in National Geographic magazine. We’re pretty sure he didn’t find any blue people down there, but here’s hoping the new footage boasts a better plot than his last opus.

Video produced by Jim Festante