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First Footage: James Cameron's View of the Ocean Depths & Mariana Trench


"It's a completely alien world."

National Geographic slowly continues to release information from Canadian director James Cameron's record-breaking voyage to the deepest point of the Mariana Trench. The latest is a first glimpse at what Cameron saw while seven miles deep on the ocean floor.

(Related: Oscar-winning director James Cameron sinks to a new low (literally))

Check out the footage:

In the clip Cameron describes his surroundings as like being on another planet. He says animal life at that level is white and only a few have eyes to sense bioluminescence. Nature reports Woods Hole deep-sea biologist Tim Shank saying because there is little life at the surface of Challenger Deep and we therefore should not expect too much to be below:

“If it had been a trench with a productive water column, like the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand, I think he would have seen much more biology,” says Shank. However, sediment samples are certain to contain billions of microbes.

(Related: What exactly did James Cameron find in the deepest ocean trench?)

Unfortunately, Cameron was unable to collect samples as his trip was cut short -- from a planned six hours to three -- due to a leak and a malfunction of the collecting arm. Cameron has expressed that he doesn't consider it a loss though as it is only the beginning. Nature continues:

After grabbing one sediment sample, the sub’s hydraulic system failed, freezing the collection devices just as Cameron was about to use them to pick up rocks. “That just means we’ve got to go back and do some more,” Cameron says. The team now hopes to complete three or four more dives in coming weeks. The expedition's scientists are anxious to learn more about life on the rocky sides of the trench.

Cameron was the first person to visit the trench since 1960 and became the first individual to take the plunge solo. With an 8-foot panel of LED lights to illuminate the pinch black environment and several cameras to record it, more footage is expected in the coming weeks. We will keep you posted as it is released.

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