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James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGER to be Displayed at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas En Route to Final Home at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


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Katie Smith
Office 504-378-2693

James Cameron's DEEPSEA CHALLENGER to be Displayed at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas En Route to Final Home at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution  

 Submersible that explorer and ‘Avatar' director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence engineered and piloted for record-breaking solo dive to the deepest place on Earth will pay a visit to New Orleans on June 5, 2013

(New Orleans, La.) - Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is honored to announce that the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the submersible and science platform that deep-ocean explorer and director James Cameron piloted on a record-breaking solo dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, will be on display at the Aquarium Plaza on Wednesday, June 5 from 10am - 3pm. 

Scientists and oceanographers will be on hand to explain the remarkable human and scientific achievement of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition and the groundbreaking technology required for its success.

The sub's visit to New Orleans comes as part of a chapter in the life one of the world's most advanced and storied pieces of technology. Supported by Rolex, the journey is intended to engage and inspire children and to focus on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in education.

DEEPSEA CHALLENGE was a joint scientific expedition by James Cameron, the National Geographic Society, and Rolex.

The sub's trek across the continent comes after Cameron's unprecedented solo dive on March 26, 2012 to 35,787 feet, almost 11,000 meters, to the deepest place on Earth - the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench - in the vertically-deployed vehicle he and his team engineered.

The cross-country tour, which begins in Los Angeles on June 1, marks the first time that the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER has been shown in public. In March, Cameron donated the sub to WHOI and joined its Center for Marine Robotics.

"One of the most critical aspects of exploration, besides actually going there and bringing back the pictures and the science, is the telling of the story," said Cameron. "It's vital to communicate to the public, especially students of all ages, what was done, how it was done, and why it was important. By telling the story to school-kids in a hands-on way, we can inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and explorers, who are so vital to the nation. Moving the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER cross-country to its new home at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution provides an opportunity to make the sub available to students and the general public, so they can see it, touch it, and ask questions. This will create a major inspirational dividend of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE project."

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER is scheduled to stop at several cities, where it will be on display at science centers and other venues, including Los Angeles, Dallas and New Orleans. The sub will also be shown at various venues in Washington D.C., where Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) will hold a congressional hearing to call attention to deep ocean research and technologies.

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, co-designed by "Titanic" director Cameron, was specifically engineered to be the first of its kind - a vertically-deployed, manned vehicle and robust science platform capable of diving to full ocean depth. The sub's ability to remain at the bottom of the Challenger Deep for nearly three hours to explore, sample and capture the highest resolution images ever taken of the location, is unprecedented. In 1960, the Trieste, the only other manned submersible able to reach the Challenger Deep, was able to stay only 20 minutes and did not bring back any photos.

WHOI envisions a range of uses for the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER system that will bring value to research programs in ocean trenches. For example, WHOI scientists plan to use the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER's cameras and lighting systems on the Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle Nereus, which dove to the Mariana Trench in 2009 and will return to trenches in the Atlantic and the Pacific during the next two years. These systems enabled Cameron to capture high-resolution 3D images of geological processes and species in the Challenger Deep during 13 piloted dives and 19 lander deployments. The full spectrum of applications for these new technologies has yet to be determined-- it will take scientists and engineers some months to fully document the system's component technologies after the sub's arrival in Woods Hole in mid-June.

About WHOI
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. WHOI operates the National Deep Submergence Facility, which operates deep sea exploration vehicles for the benefit of the entire U.S. oceanographic community and includes the human occupied vehicle Alvin, the remotely operated vehicle Jason and the autonomous vehicle Sentry. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, WHOI's  primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans' role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit

About Rolex
Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivaled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its OYSTER watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the OYSTER, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the PERPETUAL rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, exploration, sports, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic and patronage programs.

About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Its mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Founded in 1888, the Society is member supported and offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 450 million people worldwide each month through National Geographic and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit
SOURCE Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Tickets to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are $22.50 for adults, $16.00 for children and $17.00 for seniors.  Admission is free for Audubon Nature Institute members. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be purchased by visiting or at any Audubon Nature Institute attractions.  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located at 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. These New Orleans facilities include: Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Audubon Wilderness Park, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Nature Institute Foundation.