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National Geographic Deep See Challenge

''s simultaneously scary and exhilarating'

Welcome to the first National Geographic DEEPSEA CHALLENGE newsletter, chronicling events while they happen as National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and filmmaker James Cameron steams toward Guam, the Mariana Trench, and finally, alone in a tiny sub, to the deepest place on Earth: the Challenger Deep.

Shortly after his final successful test dive to the New Britain Trench on Thursday, Cameron sent a historic email connecting his modern effort to explore the ocean's depths with the first venture to the deepest place. Cameron wrote the following to Don Walsh, that initial pioneering explorer and friend who went to the Mariana Trench in 1960:

Sitting down there at 27000′, alone in the dark, with no comms, no contact whatsoever with the world so far above, and nothing but the ingenuity of the engineering to get me back... it's simultaneously scary and exhilarating. It's the precipice we put ourselves on by choice, to test ourselves and our machines. I configured the cameras to get a good shot of the weights coming off and hitting the seafloor in 3D, but I can't say I spent an undue amount of time on the lighting. I wanted to see those babies jettisoned as quick as possible. It's a good feeling when 350kg comes off, with the characteristic "SHOONK" as the weight carriages run down the slide-rails.

Read the letter in its exciting entirety by clicking here. And stay abreast of all the updates here and on the site ( as National Geographic takes you into the "New Age of Exploration."

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