Deep Sea Challenger making its way through D.C. city streets to National Geographic Society building earlier this week. It will stay for two days before heading off to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
The famed movie director is donating his deepsea vehicle used in the dive to Challenger Deep in 2012. Challenger Deep is the lowest point of Mariana Trench, one of the deepest seabeds in the world. Its innovative features and design got praise from scientists. No other deepsea vehicle can go as deep as Deepsea Challenger, making it a very important craft indeed.
Cameron, the New York Times reports, said it is the ideal outcome. The main goal is to “capitalize on the engineering advances to the highest possible degree.” Woods Hole will be getting the vehicle in June. Cameron will become an advisor to Woods Hole. Woods Hole, of course, is quite happy to be getting the vehicle. Susan Avery, president/director of Woods Hole says “Partnerships such as this one represent a new paradigm and will accelerate the progress of ocean science and technology development.”
The donation also is another example of a transition from government funded research to private sector. Something that has been slowly been going on for a while. Perhaps one of the first cracks was way back in the heady days of the space program. They needed pens to work in space, which is a problem in free fall (commonly called zero gravity) where common ballpoints fail to work. Fortunately Paul Fisher had been working on a better refill for ballpoint pens. He perfected one using a cartridge pressurized by nitrogen so that it did not rely on gravity to work. This resulted in a pen that worked in space, underwater, upside down, or in freezing cold or hot deserts. NASA had been working on such a pen but had not been successful. Fisher patented his ingenious design in 1965. In 1968 the Apollo 7 astronauts were the first to use the Fisher space pen (it took two years of NASA testing). The rest, as they say, is history.
Source: Titanic’ Director Donates Deep-Sea Craft To Institute(26 Mar 2013, New York Times)
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