James Cameron Mourns Robot Loss Underwater

ADVENTURER: James Cameron after his deep dive.

Hollywood movie director James Cameron is mourning the loss of  ''a friend'' after deep sea sub imploded 10km under the sea.

The Nereus, a robotic research vehicle was exploring the Kermedec Trench, which lies hundreds of kilometres north-east of New Zealand, when it was crushed by the immense pressures late last week.

The Titanic and Abyss director and ocean explorer descended to the deepest part of the ocean in 2012.

He then donated his robot sub Deepsea Challenger to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which is overseeing the Kermadec dive. 

Cameron said the destruction of Nereus is a ''tragic loss for science'' and a ''dark day for many reasons.'' Cameron is a friend of exploratory team head Andy Bowen and chief scientist Tim Shank.

''I feel like I've lost a friend,'' he said. ''Nereus was an amazing, groundbreaking robot and the only currently active vehicle in the world  that could reach the extreme depths of the ocean trenches.''

Cameron knows how attached scientists become to their robots, after losing a ''bot'' while exploring the Titanic wreck. ''I know what the Nereus team must be feeling...my heart goes out to them. They've not only lost a child, they've lost a great opportunity to explore one of the ocean's deep trenches - the last great frontier for exploration on our planet.''

Cameron is a member of the Oceans Elders collective, which backs the Pew Charitable Trusts, which are campaigning for the Kermadec region to be declared a vast marine reserve because of its value to science. Kermadec Initiative director Bronwen Golder today wrote to MPs, citing Cameron's words.

Scientists from around the world are conducting ''leading edge research'' in the trench, she wrote.

''While Nereus has been lost in the Kermadec Trench, new versions of Nereus are already being built. Here's hoping deep sea exploration will be up and running again soon - within a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

The National Government has so far refused to back a marine reserve in the area, which is mineral-resource rich. 

By Andrea Vance

- Stuff

This article was originally published on stuff.co.nz (with video).

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.