WASHINGTON (December 1, 2004) Down in the black depths of the ocean, the Earth is breaking apart. Hot magma pushes up through splits along tectonic plates, creating vast vent fields filled with countless openings. Here, super-heated water rich with toxic minerals spews forth to form an environment utterly inhospitable to humans, yet teeming with diverse, astonishing creatures that hold clues to mysteries several billion years old – the origin of life on the planet. Only in the past decade has technology allowed man to more fully investigate and record these wonders.
Now, in JAMES CAMERON’S ALIENS OF THE DEEP (National Geographic Books; February 2005; $30.00), Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron leads readers on his own voyage to the center of the Earth. An avid ocean explorer, he teams with marine biology and astrobiology experts from NASA and five prestigious universities to guide his skilled film crew as they plunge nearly three miles below the surface. Their goal is to record previously unknown life forms thriving near deep-ocean vents with names such as Snake Pit and Lost City. Written by scientist and explorer Joseph MacInnis, Ph.D., with an introduction by James Cameron, the book is the official companion volume to Cameron’s digital, 3-D giant-screen film of the same name, coming from Walt Disney Pictures in early 2005.
Bringing the same action-packed, dare-devil style he is known for in films such as “Titanic,” “The Abyss,” and “The Terminator” to this real-life adventure, Cameron boldly investigates sites in the Atlantic and Pacific, filming one of the most complex, deep-sea expeditions ever conducted. Working from the EDT Ares, specially outfitted to hold a fixed position in strong winds and currents without use of anchors, he coordinates with the Russian Academy of Sciences aboard the Akademik Keldysh. The world’s largest research ship, it carries a pair of $20 million mini-subs, Mir One and Mir Two. Pairing these with the Ares’ subs, Deep Rover 1 and 2, Cameron is able to execute simultaneous dives to seek the secrets behind the shimmering miracle of life.
“To know our place in the cosmos, we have to explore everything within the reach of our imagination, from the floor of the ocean to the surface of other planets,” says Cameron. “The parallels between these two extremes are closer than they appear at first.”
In the quest to understand life, JAMES CAMERON’S ALIENS OF THE DEEP takes readers from the bottom of the sea to the windblown deserts of Mars and the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter’s moons. Featuring some of the spectacular photography that will be seen in the film, this volume is superbly illustrated with more than 100 full-color images. Even the scientists are awed by the view from the mini-subs: “I can’t believe those lights. The ocean looks like it’s on fire.”
Continuing in the footsteps of two men who fueled his passion for exploration— acclaimed undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau and Cornell University astronomy professor Carl Sagan, James Cameron adds his unique filming expertise and vision to reveal an exciting new world to those on terra firma. JAMES CAMERON’S ALIENS OF THE DEEP presents a fascinating view of the world as it is and offers insight into what might have existed at the dawn of time.
About the Author:
Joseph MacInnis, Ph.D., has studied the performance of divers working in extreme depths and has personally logged more than 5,000 dive hours. He has written six books and numerous articles for magazines, including Scientific American and National Geographic.
JAMES CAMERON’S ALIENS OF THE DEEP
By Dr. Joseph MacInnis
National Geographic Books
Publication Date: February 2005