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Deepsea Challenge

The Solo Journey to the Deepest Known Point in the Ocean

  • Engineering Pressure

    Investigate Pressure with Students Grades 9-12

    The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER is hoisted into the Pacific ocean on an unmanned dive to 11,000 meters at Challenger Deep.
  • Solve a CHALLENGEing Problem

    Engineer Solutions with Students Grades 6-8

    The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER begins its a test dive. On this particular dive, the submersible dove to 8000 meters (about 26,200 feet).
  • James Cameron: Filmmaker and Inventor

    Learn More About Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron

    James Cameron talks about what he saw from the cockpit of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER in his dive to 8,221 meters.

    Find out the latest news

    Cameron will be the sole occupant of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER as he pilots it to the deep. The submersible took more than seven years to design and build.
  • Ocean Exploration GeoStory

    Investigate Ocean Depths with These Famous Expeditions

    Dr. Sylvia Earle shows algae to an engineer through the window of the Project Tektite II habitat.

On March 26, 2012, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron succeeded in tackling his biggest challenge ever—a solo journey to Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean. Challenger Deep is 10.99 kilometers (6.83 miles) deep and is found at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near Guam. Years in the making, this feat has been compared to landing on the moon. 

In order to make this journey, Cameron and his engineering team utilized revolutionary engineering and cutting-edge technology. They developed a new single-seat submersible that Cameron himself piloted to the depths of Challenger Deep. Named DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the sub is 7.9 meters (26 feet) long and unlike anything ever built. Cameron’s team describes it as sharing qualities of both a race car and a torpedo.  

This collection of National Geographic Education resources was created to help teachers like you bring the excitement of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE into the classroom. Use these resources to bring hands-on engineering lesson plans and activities into the classroom. Topics include decision-making, ocean sciences, and media literacy. 

For Grades 6-8

Solving a CHALLENGEing Problem

Students investigate pressure, biological adaptations, and the engineering process through hands-on activities.

Deep-Sea Decisions

Students research members of the team behind the historic DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition and then take on the role of a team member in a simulation of a deep-sea expedition.

Exploring Extremes

Through videos, students hear astronauts and deep-sea explorers describe what life is like in the extreme environments of space and the deep sea. Students create a digital story comparing and contrasting life in these two extreme environments.

For Grades 9-12

Engineering Pressure

Students investigate pressure and use the engineering process to design, model, test, document evaluate, and re-design a submersible vehicle.

Dissecting Exploration Vehicles

Students research and compare three deep-sea exploration vehicles to determine how the designs of these types of vehicles have changed over time.

The Role of Images in Storytelling

Students discuss the importance of images in storytelling. They build a digital story around photographs they take to tell a story they want to share with others; they also evaluate their peers' digital stories.



See the Film

Experience the expedition for yourself. James Cameron's DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D is coming to a giant screen theater near you. For more information, visit the official DEEPSEA CHALLENGE website and follow @DeepChallenge on Twitter for the latest updates.

Experience the Expedition


Follow the expedition to the deepest known point of the ocean.

Historical Timeline

Ocean Exploration Timeline

Learn about important milestones in underwater exploration.

Explorer Profile

Filmmaker, Inventor, and Explorer: James Cameron

James Cameron is the deepest man in the world . . . the Oscar-winning filmmaker and innovative inventor descended more than six miles in the ocean, in a sub he helped design.

Blog Archive

Relive the Journey

Incorporate DEEPSEA CHALLENGE into your classroom using expert ideas.

Encyclopedic Entries

Use these student-friendly encyclopedic entries to provide background information on ocean topics.