On the first anniversary of his solo descent of the Marianas Trench, James Cameron told the BBC that he was going to donate the Deepsea Challenger submarine to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Cameron said that the ocean was a vast unexplored frontier, but that funding cuts were now jeopardising research.
At first, parts from the submarine will be used as upgrades and add-ons for existing subs, though the Deepsea Challenger could dive again. There are plans to move the lighting and camera arrays to another sub for an upcoming mission.
WHOI already operates a a number of submersibles including the famous Alvin vehicle.
Cameron was the first person to reach the bottom of the Marianas Trench in 50 years, and the only person to have ever made the descent alone. The only previous manned dive to this deepest spot, called the Challenger Deep, was carried out by US Navy Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard in 1960.
It took Cameron about two hours to reach the seafloor, where he spent several hours exploring as 3D cameras captured images for a National Geographic film that will be released later this year.