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James Cameron Piloted This 12-Ton Submarine to Earth’s Deepest Point. Now It’s on Display in LA.

Deepsea Challenger is part of a new exhibition at LA's Natural History Museum.

Pressure: James Cameron Into the Abyss, Natural History Museum

In 2012, filmmaker and explorer James Cameron made a record-breaking solo dive to 35,787 feet to the deepest point on Earth. Now the very submersible in which he completed this historic feat is on display for all to see.

The 12-ton vessel, known as the Deepsea Challenger, is the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum (NHM) of Los Angeles County. Pressure: James Cameron into the Abyss, which is on view now until February 20, will allow guests to relive the landmark voyage through a variety of immersive experiences.

The highlight is, of course, the 24-foot deep-diving sub that Cameron piloted to the bottom of the Challenger Deep on March 26, 2012. The world’s deepest frontier, which is located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, lies nearly seven miles below the water’s edge. Two other explorers (Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh) made it to the Mariana Trench before Cameron in 1960, but the Titanic director was the first to reach it as a solo pilot.

Pressure: James Cameron Into the Abyss,
The 24-foot deep-diving submersible. Natural History Museum

The sub is displayed in a custom-built cradle on the museum’s ground floor, and visitors will be able to get right up close to the vessel. The pop-up will also have videos detailing the life-and-death challenges Cameron faced and the way the sub helped him survive the extreme conditions of the deep ocean. To give you an idea, the water pressure at Challenger Deep is about 1,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level, and the temperatures are just a few degrees above freezing. The multimedia show will also dive into the logistics that go into planning and executing an expedition of such magnitude.

Pressure: James Cameron Into the Abyss,
The exhibition’s videos detail Cameron’s diving experience. Natural History Museum

Cameron already has more than 70 dives under his belt and continues to further marine research. In fact, he recently partnered with Triton Submarines to help develop the next generation of ocean exploration technology.

“More than 80 percent of our oceans are unexplored,” Cameron said in a statement. “There are mysteries to solve, new discoveries to make and critical knowledge to acquire.”

Pressure: James Cameron Into the Abyss,
The exterior of LA’s Natural History Museum. Natural History Museum

NHM has a vast and diverse marine biology collection and is home to a multitude of rare underwater specimens. The best part? Pressure: James Cameron into the Abyss is free with general admission. You can buy tickets to the museum here.

If you’re looking for a souvenir to commemorate Cameron’s achievement, Rolex just unveiled a titanium watch in honor of his historic descent to the Challenger Deep, most notably featuring a record-breaking water resistance of more than 36,000 feet.

Looks like the Avatar director isn’t the only one pushing the envelope.

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