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James Cameron's deep-sea submarine is on display in Ottawa

A deep-sea adventure awaits you this summer, where you can immerse your imagination on what it's like to explore the ocean's depths.

Legendary Canadian filmmaker James Cameron's DeepSea Challenger, the submarine he used to travel to the lowest known point on the planet, is on display in Ottawa at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) in an exhibition titled "Pressure: James Cameron into the Abyss".

In 2012, as a solo pilot, Cameron's record-breaking dive plunged him nearly 11 kilometres below the ocean's surface, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Upon landing on the ocean's floor, which he describes as "gelatinous", Cameron took scientific samples and captured 3D footage which became part of a documentary released in 2014 about the submarine's construction and the extraordinary adventure.

"This is science and science-fiction all rolled into one," says Dr. Joe MacInnis, a long-time friend of Cameron's, who also served as a scientific adviser on the DeepSea Challenger mission. "We had a very difficult expedition. We had 60 days at sea and early in the expedition we lost two of out team members in a helicopter crash and so somehow we had to find a way through all of this and it was Jim's [James Cameron's] leadership. Young people are going to come in and see this machine and they're going to sense the science, the engineering, the art, the discovery, and they will go to tough places and do hard things, and I think some of them will carry the fire that Jim put into this machine and it will be transferred to the next generation. That's my hope."

While the submarine itself is large—11 tonnes and about seven metres in length—the actual capsule where Cameron was seated is quite small, at only one meter in diameter. Cameron was cramped inside for more than eight hours during the mission.

"Pressure" combines Cameron's story with engaging new educational tools that highlight our connection and responsibility to the ocean in a celebration of exploration, innovation and the life-sustaining ecosystem that covers more than 70 per cent of our planet.

"This is one of the great expedition and exploration vehicles on the planet in history," says John Geiger, CEO of RCGS. "It is about exploration, it is about going places where people have not been before, and it's also about conservation and our concern for the world's ocean in this instance, but also generally what we are doing to the planet. There is a double message here; part of it is the pressure in that submersible at that great depth, but it's also about the pressure we are placing on our oceans and our planet … and to have it here and resonate and to excite interest in the issues that concern us is absolutely vital."

The exhiibion is on display until Nov. 17 at the RCGS, 50 Sussex Dr., in the Alex Trebek Theatre. Exhibit hours are Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, donations are accepted. 

The RGCS announced on Aug. 29 that it was extending the exhibit through September and October and part of November. It was originally expected to be on display until Sept. 1. Top Stories

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