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Temecula Company Helps Filmmaker Reach Earth's Deepest Point

National Geographic's James Cameron went to the Challenger Deep 7 miles under the ocean's surface

A Temecula company recently helped filmmaker James Cameron become the only man to make a solo dive to the deepest part of the world's oceans.

He dove 7 miles the "Challenger Deep," the deepest point in the Mariana Trench, on March 26.

Cameron desended in the "Deepsea Challenger," a deep-sea single-person submarine equipped with computerized control technology from Temecula's Opto 22, a manufacturer located on Business Park Drive.

Click on the video above to see the Deepsea Challenger in action.

The Temecula company's control system sits at the heart of the submersible, controlling and monitoring more than 180 onboard systems such as sensors, batteries, thrusters, life support, and lighting.

This trip was important because the first time humans were at the bottom of Challenger Deep, study was impossible.

Swiss explorer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh descended in 1960 in the bathyscaph Trieste. Reaching the bottom took almost five hours and the return trip took three hours leaving the explorers only 20 minutes at the bottom.

The bathyscaph stirred up so much sediment when it landed, the dust obscured the view through its small porthole, and photographs of the sea floor outside were impossible.

Half a century after that first dive, DEEPSEA CHALLENGER takes advantage of advances in materials science, battery technology and electrical and computer systems to create a mobile science platform that can descend to the sea floor in two hours, spend hours exploring, and then return to the surface in just over an hour. The submersible is equipped with multiple cameras, including 3D video cameras, a tower of LED lights and robotic claws and other apparatus to collect samples of rocks and sea creatures.

Cameron’s record-setting dive was backed by a team of engineers, scientists, educators and journalists, including an on-site technical liaison from Opto 22, Application Engineer Benjamin Orchard, who worked with the submersible builder to integrate the Opto 22 control system into the sub.

In addition, a team of programmers and electrical engineers at Opto 22 headquarters in Temecula helped with custom programming, system design and troubleshooting.

David Wotherspoon, Project Manager with Acheron Project Pty. Ltd., was pleased with the results. "(Opto 22) provided an advanced, submersible Deepsea Challenger with a reliable control system that performed above my expectations," Wotherspoon said.

-- By David Hill, spokesperson for Opto 22

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