James Cameron is apparently missing his Titanic fame, and he’s willing to go pretty far to recapture it — like nearly seven miles straight down to the bottom of the ocean. (Hey, it worked for the ship.) Cameron is travelling in a submersible to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the lowest known point on Earth.

Cameron recently started descending 6.8 miles below the surface of the water in a vessel that he helped design, the Deepsea Challenger. The trip takes nine hours one-way, which would normally prompt a lot of “are we there yets?” but Cameron is making the voyage by himself. He’s only the third person to make the journey down the Mariana Trench, and the first to do it solo.

No one has descended the Mariana Trench since 1960, but it’s looking like Cameron’s just the first of an entourage of rich white dudes to brave the briny deep.

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Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire, is backing a mission in a plexiglass sub that looks like an aeroplane. Two other teams, a Florida company called Triton and Google’s DOER sub are also hoping to make the trip soon.

Cameron’s trip isn’t just for bragging rights (though we’re guessing that’s definitely part of it). The director will film the trip in 3-D, collect sediment samples, and perhaps even bring back a few deep sea critters. He’s also looking for inspiration for Avatar 2. Maybe the bottom of the Mariana Trench will boast creatures even cooler than 3-D plants that glow when aliens step on them.

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