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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  August 28, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. it's end of summertime when we look back at some of the best moments in our program so far this year. tonight in our encore conversation, james cameron. >> dealing with the natural world and the beauty of science is that every question you answer poses three new. questions. if you embrace science it's job security. the investigation never ends, you know. but it's trying to create a framework for understanding of how it all works. >> rose: james cameron for the hour, next. funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> there's a saying around here: you stand behind what you say. around here, we don't make
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excuses, we make commitments. and when you can't live up to them, you own up and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it, when you know where to look. >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: james cameron is here one of hollywood's interesting directors, avatar and titanic two of the highest grossing films of all times. he once said the purpose of
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making my movie is making enough money to take a dive. the deep dive, two passions of his, it follows his expedition to the bottom of marianna trench at the wbal of the pacific ocean which is the lowest point on earth. the two passions are diving and making movies. here's the trailer for the film james cameron's deep sea challenge 3d. >> james scam run is on a mission to dive to the deepest points on the planet. >> voyage deep into the sea. >> film director james cameron has made history. >> it's 36,000 feet down. that is seven miles to the bottom. mt. everest could fit in a trench with 7,000 feet to spare. >> a new record for solo man dive. >> the first person ever to reach the bottom of the mariana trench the deepest of the ocean. >> it's the imagination with untold possibilities.
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this is james cameron. >> i've seen some pretty interesting things in the depth. >> he said if we knew what was there, we wouldn't have to go. >> changeer deep in the mar yawn awe trench is the deepest place on earth seven miles straight down. it's the last frontier of our world. it's my dream to build a machine to take us there. we're actually going to do things that the governments on the world cannot now do. we're going to do something nobody else can do. when you dive to the bottom of the ocean you know there are horrible ways to die. the breaking hatch, the worth will bust through. i get plumed through in micro seconds. >> it's an internal drive
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for him, he has to do it. >> we're so far it's not even funny. we have to pit ourselves against the elements. you got to dive. >> that's not good. >> a lot of failures here, you've got a problem. >> pretty soon you realize you're in this metal coffin. i'm getting weaker by weaker. maybe risks shouldn't be taken. maybe the consequences to our families are too great. >> i'm ready to descend when you are, over. >> it comes with risks but it's a risk worth something. it's that need to see what's there beyond the edge of your life, to see the unknown for yourself. it's the force that drives all exploration and curiosity. >> rose: this is a story of a man's great obsession to go to the bottom of the ocean.
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>> it felt like science fiction when we were doing it, you know. it's like being in a spaceship and like getting launched into space except it was inner space. >> rose: i want to talk about how prepared. take me back to the beginning in canada. was this idea of being an explorer deep inside of you as a young boy? >> i think it emerged from my fascination with the natural world, you know. i used to be out, i was surrounded by woods, i would be out there catching frogs and snakes and they got me on microscope when i was a kid for christmas, maybe ten years old and i started looking at pond water and seeing all the little, you know, micro organisms that lived there. to me it was endlessly fascinating, the natural world. so that leads to, you know, they say exploration is just curiosity acted upon. >> rose: yes. >> you know. and you want to go and you want to look with your own eyes. >> rose: but you got side lined by the movies. >> in college i couldn't decide between science, i was studying physics and astronomy and that
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was a quest to understand natural words and the arts. i became a lit major and started telling stories. so that narrative drive was there as well and that took over and that's when i became a filmmaker. >> rose: you wrote something called the abyss later on. what was the story. >> very short story but interestingly enough it was about scientists leaving a submerged base kind of similar what i eventually made into a movie. they're going into a wall deeper and deeper into blackness and they don't come back. the ones that are left behind wonder what happened and go after them. one after another they keep going into the darkness and they don't return. the last man goes, the last diver goes down to find out what happens to his buddies and he gets to the point of no return and his curiosity overwhelm his caution and he keeps going and that's how the story ends. >> rose: was there moments in doing this that are curiosity might have overwhelmed caution. >> well absolutely. that's the danger and the thing is self knowledge is a beautiful thing when you're down there by yourself in that story.
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and the astronauts call it go fever. you want to go keep going. but on the other hand , the engineer side says let's not do anything that's unsafe. >> rose: let's minimize risk. >> minimize risk. >> rose: the abyss you made and titanic came along and that was fueled by your desire to go explore something. >> yes. i got to have the privilege to dive to the real titanic wreck in 1995 as part of that movie project. it's not an exaggeration to say i made that film so that i could make those dives. of course i finished all the dives and then i still had to make the movie for the next year and a half of my life. >> rose: but when you make a movie like titanic and also with avatar, you seem to say i'm going to make it as big as i can possibly make it, i'm going to make it as real as i possibly can make it. which also calls on your engineering skills as well. >> absolutely. we create new technology for
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e very film to real ize that vision or put the camera in some unique place. try to give something to the audience they haven't seen before. that led naturally creating new technology to go to places that people had never been before. whether it's inside the titanic o r inside bismark wreck going deeper than anybody's gone. >> rose: so compare ocean exploration with me for me with exploration of space and where we are in both. >> yes. well i think we're much better funded in space because it's good appropriations for a lot of big aerospace companies and people many. i'm not putting down exploration i've been involved myself. b ut the ocean's are under funded.
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desperately under funded especially now after the discretionary funding was cut back a come years. but the thing is our oceans are life support systems here on spaceship earth. we need to understand them before we kill the life in the oceans or permanently disrupt it. and so you know, part of what i was trying to do with this film is get people interested in exploration here on earth. and realize that the ocean is this vast dark inig ma down there we need to understand better. >> rose: there's a story over bbc about this comet and going up behind the circle of the comet and called rosetta, i think. basically the question of finding out how scientifically life may have begun on this planet. a subject you're interested in too and maybe looking for answers in the ocean. >> yes, very much so. the space provides a great laboratory for figuring out the early solar system and where life might have emerged. most people think life emerged here on earth and didn't come here from somewhere else. so where? was it in the classic kind of shallow pond that got hit by lightening or something like
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that. it's been kind of discredited of the idea. p eople like the idea of hydro thermal. there's a new hypotheses way down in these trenches getting energy from one plate grinding underneath another that could have provided energy for life on earth and it would have been stable, quiet. >> rose: something like a big bang moment. >> it could be, in biology, yes. it's not a widely accepted theory yet but we were able to find evidence to support it on this expedition. >> rose: i'm going to come back to that later in terms of scientific purposes and what the scientific benefits are. s o i mentioned titanic and i mentioned avatar. so when was the dream to go to the mariana trenches and for jim cameron to be the explorer and to be the first person ever to do it solo. >> there's a moment where you step part way down a path and a moment where you realize you're on that path and didn't know it. in 2002 we were going down
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16,000 feet. >> rose: is that half the way. >> less than half the way. we were near the limit of the russian submersibles that we were diving with. and so i just posed a question to the engineers sitting around in the dining room on the ship, what would it take to go all the way, to go to 36,000 feet. what would that technology look like because it didn't exist. and then the conversation got started. and you know one thing leads to another and before you know it, you're going beyond just a napkin drawing to technical drawings. >> rose: which reminds me all great things begin with unanswered questions. >> absolutely. >> rose: in fact, you were out there because i guess on the return, you couldn't land for ten days for some reason. you held off. is there some story. >> oh yes on the russian trip. they needed a port permit and we ended up slow rolling. >> rose: you had to talk to these guys. >> talk to them, look at our
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footage and we had time to think i t became kind of like a sequestered engineering group session. >> rose: so once you had the idea why not, what do you do. >> for me, once i can visualize the machine, whatever it is. >> rose: what a submersible would look like. >> how it would work, what it would maybe even feel like to be in it. i then have to realize that. i'll be patient about it. the it took us seven years from the time we actually started. we started in 2005, that's when i pushed the button and said i'm going to fund this, i'm going to fund the development of this vehicle let's make it happen. >> rose: so in some ways titanic and avatar are parents to this journey. >> exactly. >> rose: because the money there enabled you to have fun. as you said you make films so i could die. >> this were my rich parents exactly that let me go do my childhood fantasies. >> rose: and so how do you start out though. you assemble a group, because
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it's a small community of smart divers. >> very small, yes. i started with a guy i had worked with a few years named ron alan, he's down in australia. he's kind of one of these genius guys and he quietly figured out many of the break through technologies. i figured just pay ron and a couple assistants for a few years and work out the hard problems before i get a big team up and running because that's when the cash starts flying out the door, you know. and ronnie figured it all out. there was a moment where we went to the next stage. from this moment on it's going to start really costing us money. a n d i decideed that that mile town what is when ronnie completed the sphere. >> rose: why is the story sphere. >> that's the best shape to take extreme pressure from outside. a cylinder won't work, cube won't work at all.
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so you only deal with a sphere. you need a deep submersible. >> rose: he designed the sphere that might have the possibility of withstanding the pressure at 35,000 feet. >> yes. he and i designed it together. he did all the hard yards of working with metallurgists. it wasn't exotic material we used a gun steel that was b e cause we knew it was reliable and ductile. >> rose: meaning. >> like the breach of a big gun which had to withstand enormous. >> rose: you think of the pressure. >> you think of the energy and when that shell goes off, that's the kind of special we're talking about. >> rose: so you get that then what else. >> we start with a sphere, we pressure test a sphere in a chamber and realize it works. now we start telling the sign community we're really doing this and they have to believe us because we've got a sphere to
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get inside and dive. now we have to wrap the rest of the subaround the sphere to get it where it's supposed to go. >> rose: at every moment you knew it was going to be james cameron. >> it wouldn't be any fun. >> rose: you knew it had to be solo because of the demands. >> it gets bigger in order to float it and bring it back to the surface. you reach a certain threshold where you can't lift it on and off a ship. you're into big vehicles like a military sub you have to tow out there. >> rose: two guys. >> john and josh. and don walsh became a friend of mine. >> rose: he was on the boat.
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>> and the arctic at the age of 80 something he's in the arctic exploring. >> rose: here's the interesting thing and we'll see this in footage. to go down you have these things that look like what a ballast or something like balloons that are holding it on the surface of the water. it's got so much weight as soon as you release them. >> it goes like a rock. >> rose: and then to come back up you have weights that are in there, you have to eliminate them. >> more than half the time. >> rose: those weights have not been able to throw them off, you still would be on the bottom. >> we wouldn't be having this conversation. >> rose: little things like that. all of them have to work. >> yes. and typically when things go wrong, it's not one thing that fails, it is several in sequence. because we've thought of one thing. we maybe even thought of two things in combination. >> rose: you think of fire, you think of flooding. >> exactly, yes. i call it
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healthy payer no awe. you're building these things of all the things that can go wrong and you do the engineering to prevent it but you can't prevent everything and you can't think of everything. so there's always going to be some small risk but what you do is you drive that risk down to just that one little x factor. you don't, you're not going to take risks on the things you know and could have prevented, you just feel stupid. >> rose: but you have to be like a pilot you have to have a checklist in your mind. >> yes. >> rose: in terms of just normal operations but also if you run into trouble. you have to check everything, one, two, three, four. >> when things start going wrong you go through your checklist you try a, you try b, you try c. if you get down to f, we all know what that stands for. >> rose: somebody said and you quoted him that if something goes wrong of certain dimension and you can still try to fix it, you know it's okay because you would have been crushed to death. >> exactly. you know we're talking about the kind of pressure where if it did buckle and fail it would implode at hyper sonic speed. faster than the speed of sound. so i wouldn't feel anything. i visualize as i cut to black.
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>> rose: just boom. >> yes, exactly. then it's everybody else's problem. >> rose: all right. we've got a lot to talk about. this is exciting stuff because it's real, it's the future, it's exploration, something that i've always been fascinated by. and this is the man who went to the bottom of the earth and came back to tell about it and make a movie about it, and not only it is the wonder of exploration, it shows you that to explore you have to practice, practice, practice. take a look at this. >> okay, final check. >> vision one, 18%. 02. c02 is 0.3%. running towards me. looking good. f gauge is working, compass is working.
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okay, ready for descend. are you ready. okay, release release release. see you. >> i think my heart rate left at the moment they release the sub i start to drop. right away there are so many things to do. establishing communications and all that. this is the challenger, do you copy. over. >> deepsea challenger, this is mermaid. how do you copy over. >> good and clear. you have a good calm voice. >> copy that like i'm talking to my grandma.
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>> do you want a biscuit. >> rose: now those people on top in the boat that's on the surface of the ocean. >> i'm so reliant on that team. my life is literally in their hands. >> rose: and who were the which i want to call frog men but people who are floating around, divers. >> , the drivers yes, the drivers. on launch they're disconnecting me from all those lines. to get me back out of the water they're connecting and that was a relatively calm launch right there. but sometimes we're in big sea states and those guys are getting whipped around like tether balls. they were good safe drivers. i was in safe hands with them. >> rose: you said about fear it's the night before. it's not launch into the capsule because then it's all engineering and fi will you telling and thinking about what i have to do. >> and exassignment.
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>> rose: excitement. >> it's the night before, there's the free floating anxiety. on the day you get go fever. you want to go. >> rose: now are you this way about all of life? i mean, is this simply this journey a metaphor for the way you've lived your life. >> probably, yeah. i mean i think if you like challenges, you put yourself in situations that test you but then you prepare, i prepare carefully so that test is not going to be a failure. but there's always that moment of apprehension or thinking why did i do this to myself. but of course i know why because i want to maybe i want to prove something to myself, maybe i want to assemble the team and have the pride in that group that we've done something somebody else hasn't done yet.
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>> rose: people watching this and hearing this interview as it is broadcast are saying well what about religion. does james cameron have any sense of some other being? >> i'm not religious in the traditional sense but when i'm in these places, in fact in the film i call it my church. you know, this is where i feel connected to a greater order if you will. when i see things that nobody's seen before but they're incredible and they're detailed and they are perfect organisms, i think there is a higher set of principles that guides all this somehow. that's when i feel that when the mystic sort of takes over in my mind. >> rose: here's a clip of you talking about that very point. here it is. >> you're a mighty warrior, aren't you.
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each one of these chance cameras from the depths of the ocean, i'm grateful. this is my church. down here, alone. i feel the power of nature's imagination. so much greater than our own. >> rose: a couple things. it is not, there was a tragic moment in this helicopter which was taking ariel of the submersible, i think. went down. you lost two friends , two colleagues, two comrades. >> these guys were not just my friends. they were in a way mentors and role models to me. they represented the value system that as an explorer i strove for. these were guys that had fearlessly gone into the great whites and crocodiles their
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whole careers. and they brought such an enthusiasm to it that as film makers both of them, this is mike degree and andrew white. both of them, they were such incredible representatives of the ocean and of exploration but it just called everything into question, you know. >> rose: you had to bring everybody together and say do we go forward. >> do we go forward. here we were doing this potentially very risky operation and it just called into question do we take these risks. and we sat as a group and we all face risks. even the surface crew and the divers and everybody. they're putting their lives at risk as well. and as a group, we said this is what these guys stood for. they believe that the rigs are risks are worth it. t his is what explore ation is. we don't honor them by stopping, we honor them by fulfilling the task. it wasn't arrived at lightly.
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because it's one thing to decide to go forward, it's another thing to find the will to do it after you've. >> rose: the interesting thing. this did not come from an accident in terms of the work of going down, this came from a helicopter that went down. >> the great irony. here are these guys who have been in incredibly risky situations had done that risk evaluation and that was the equivalents of them getting in their car in the morning and driven to work. i had flown in it with him and he was a very accomplished pilot and it was just one of those freak accidents. >> rose: when i asked earlier about whether it was a metaphor how you approached life in terms of the risk and being able to reduce risk, i mean do you drive fast? >> i used to. >> rose: do you test the elements, are you a pilot? >> i used to. look, i think earlier in my life when i was a teenager, you know, when i was a young adult, i was kind of an adrenaline junkie, i
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put that behind me a long time ago. you i think probably being a father, having kids i've been a father. >> rose: responsible not only for your own life but others. >> exactly. you think about life very differently. you start to respect, and being a director especially doing these stunts and all that you have to change and embrace culture and safety and discipline to keep people alive. i didn't find it such a strange experience on my first expedition when i had to deal with those disciplines. do you know what i mean. because if you're keeping people alive as an action filmmaker, now i'm out at sea and there are real hazards. so i just applied the same kind of rules. >> rose: so, when did you make the decision that we're going for it now? everything, we tried everything, we're as perfect as we believe we can be. >> right. you know, i don't think there was a threshold where we would
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have stopped had it not been for andrews crash. b e f ore that we were race ing to meet the deadline to get the sub together. >> rose: did you make deadlines. >> we busted a few deadlines but we pulled it together in a couple months by the time the integration and assembly began. there was a moment when we first put it in the war was a big milestone. i stood in front of everybody and said to the team right now it's a piece of sculpture we put it in the water and dive one meter below the surface and it becomes a submarine and that becomes a threshold and we don't go back from that. we dragged it down to the pier w e stuck it in sydney harbor and sent it down one meter. >> rose: you had partners in this company. they joined you. for what purpose. >> i brought rolex in and asked them if he wanted to be involved because they were supporting the initial dive to the deep
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challenger back in 1960 and they built a special watch that went down and survived the 16,000 pounds of pressure and came bac. i said do you want to do that again. and it was such, they responded so favorably because it so reflected the dna of their brand which is the original dive watch, the best dive watch and all that and they jumped in and we couldn't have done it without them. >> rose: why is that. >> because it's expenseive, the building of the sub, the cost of the ship, the fuel. everything, the filming. we had national geographic and rolex and they built a watch new watch for me to take down, brand new watch. >> rose: something like you have now. >> something very similar. it was a larger one. this is a special commemorative watch they did for the expedition. but they built one to withstand the pressure again, a new one. >> rose: and then the place where it's going to be seen. what was their contribution.
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>> national geographic funded the film, the film funding the expedition. t h at's the cousteau model that was the model he initiated. he said i'm going out there, i'm going to to film this and put it o n tv but i'm going to take scientists. i tried to follow in his footsteps by always engaging the science community, bringing them out and having them do real research. and i tell them you can come but you must publish. you must publish something. we've already had a couple papers going out and there are a couple more. >> rose: you said you never met jacques cousteau. >> i wish i had >> rose: something i have done that you have not done. >> you might have done a few other things. >> rose: but he was for you. >> yes, he was an icon. a lot of the kids these days
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don't know who he is unless they have a particular interest of the ocean. >> rose: why 3d. >> well 3d immerses you in the situation whatever it is. of course for movies, big action movies it's great because you feel like you're right there with the characters and all that but it's especially great for documentaries because as an audience member it draws you into the frame and you become part of the journey. so you watch this film, you're going to go inside that little tiny sphere with me, you know. and so many people have commented on the fact that they felt like they were on the dive. >> rose: they point this out. you could not stand up inside that sphere. >> no. >> rose: you had to be lowered in there like a pilot seat. >> your table is much bigger than that sphere. the inside diameter is 43 inches so it's like this and it's packed full of electronic equipment and all that sort of thing. >> rose: totally beneath the sea was six hours was it. >> on the dive it was seven and a half hours on the deepest dives. i've done dives as long as 12 hours in that seat and not moving.
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>> rose: how do you prepare for that. >> it's a mental discipline. i did a lot of diving in the m irror sobs where i was crammed in as well with my camera gear. i did yoga and did running because good circulation would be necessary. you're kind of cramped in you don't want to get deep vein thrombosis or something like that. the expedition doctor was concerned about that and we did a lot of bio medical testing in the simulator which was identical so i made a lot of simulated dive. >> rose: trying to measure the risk and reduce it, measure the risk and reduce it. >> exactly. >> rose: there's also this. how do you photograph when you're down there. you had two cameras. >> yes. >> rose: you have, as you have said, you took selfies to the extreme. >> to the next level. >> rose: to the next level. four cameras on the outside two on the inside on you so people c o uld see you. >> right. those are stereo pairs to create 3d. two on the outside two on the
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inside and one red epic camera thatting like a 5k out through the front view port. so you're seeing basically just kind of 3d image on me. now outside, we put one of those 3d cameras out on the end of a six and a half foot long boom so i could turn it around, kind of like how you hold your cell phone out here it's the same idea so you could shoot the sub making contact at the bottom and look up and all that sort of thing. there's nobody else down there to do it. >> rose: i want to talk about when you got there what you saw and felt and how you might have advanced science. take a look at this, another clip. >> 1.3 knots. time to take some shots.éo]p get some speed off here.
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35,2000 feet. 488 feet to go. and number three, that's all facing down. let's get the spotlight in down. should be seeing something pretty soon. 1 10 feet. should be seeing something pretty soon. >> rose: now, how much of you is aware of you making a movie and this is going to be a movie. >> very aware of it when i'm talking about the engineer about camera placement and how we're lighting everything. >> rose: you're directing while you're doing this. >> no, i forget about it. >> rose: john bruno was doing t he directing. >> yes. my main job was to get the science done and hopefully the cameras just kind of ran themselves.
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h o p efully the the cameras just kind of ran themselves. >> rose: so when you touched the ground, what did you feel, what did you think, where was your curiosity. >> i don't want to say it didn't seem real because i felt probably more present than i've ever felt do you know what i mean. you know where you are but there's a sense of amazement that you're actually there and there's seven miles of water above your head and there's this flush of pride that the team all the things that we work together, i just felt so much of a connection to the guys up on the ship who built the sub. i'm just a designated driver and i know any one of them would happily trade places with me. they used to joke and conk me on the head and say i was unavailable for the dive. >> rose: suppose something happened to you. w ould something else have gonedown. >> ron alan co designer of the sub was pilot trained and we were planning to have him dive as well.
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so he would have just taken my place if i had gotten sick, yes. but i got first dibs. >> rose: so what do you see when you're down there. >> i don't want to give away the movie too much but basically it's a very remote and very lunar kind of place. it's very detail. people imagine that the giant liquid is going to appear in the lights and of course that would b e my greatest fantasy but we know scientifically the deeper you go the less energy there is to support ecosystems. >> rose: there are no vertebra there. >> no fish. and the reason is because the pressure is so intense that it actually dissolves the calcium. so bones can't exist. so it's like you've gone to such an extreme place that the life itself must adapt in these very strange ways. >> rose: so what's there. >> we found 68 new species. >> rose: we're constantly discovering new species. >> sure. >> rose: 68 new ones nobody's ever seen before. >> exactly. people had even done some sampling in some of these places before but they didn't find
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these ones. so new kind of sea cucumbers moving across the bottom and other invertebrates and micro organisms and things like that. >> rose: you hope this somehow that you brought back some of this. >> yes. >> rose: that's how you knew you had 68. >> exactly, right. >> rose: you hope it might even be involved in medical discovery, medical treatment like alzheimer's. >> sure. they found a compound in, it's an enzyme in one of these animals that just coincidently happens to be in trials right now as an alzheimer's treatment. okay. so let's say that they hadn't found that compound another way and it was something new, it might lead to some new cure. so you never know until you collect these animals and you started figuring out how they're working at a biochemical level where it will lead. >> rose: will you go back? >> oh, absolutely i'm making avatar i've got to make them.
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>> rose: you're making three avatar movies being released. 2 0 16, 2017, 2018. >> a year apart. each one will stand alone bit will also form a greater story. >> rose: are you making them all at the same time. >> yes. >> rose: you are. same actors. >> same actors and we'll shoot everything and then we'll parse it up and complete the post production on one. >> rose: you have in mind you're making three movies here. >> we know what we're doing. we think we know what we're doing. it always seem that way when you start out. >> rose: why are you so fascinated by avatar? which is finding another planet as i remember. >> it's an interesting decision to decide to work in one kind of cinematic space but because avatar had such broad reach and because it resonated with the indigenous community and the environmentad@8ommunity and all that i think there are a lot of themes i feel compelled to say as a filmmaker i can do in that world.
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>> rose: like what. >> our propensity for the d estruction of the natural world and what that means to bio diversity and life and indigits culture through science figure shin kind of parable if you will. >> rose: anything in you that wants to go to mars. >> i would go to mars in a heart beat, absolutely. >> rose: it takes time and there are people way ahead of you. >> yes. look, i support elan wholeheartedly. he has a real vision for it and he's shown he has the technical capability to do it. and frankly i think when the capability really is there, i'll be long in the tooth to do it. my specialization is the ocean. i should do what i do best. >> rose: there's no doubt we will go to mars. >> i don't believe our government will send human beings to mars. >> rose: there are no people like you on mars.
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>> their political will will f ail and money won't be there. >> rose: is there any political will to research the sea. >> even those now. we need to change that. mars has been there for four million years and it could wait longer, i hate to say that it sounds like heresy compared what i used to think about space travel but the ocean is our life support system. we need the ocean and we need to understand it before we destroy it and right now our rate of destruction is higher than our rate of understanding. >> rose: how are we destroying it. >> in every way you can think of. the things we do on land, run off through the rivers and wind up in the ocean. a lot of the food we eat we take from the ocean so we've wrecked the food web in the ocean. dumping chemicals from agriculture into the ocean. w e're warming the planet which is killing the coral reefs. it's a bad feedback cycles. >> rose: what will shock us into realizing this is urgent and immediate and essential for survival. >> it will take a shock of some kind, maybe it will be a food
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shock which will have a serious impact to our food supply and it might be something that happens in the oceans that does that. i'm not talking about eating fish, i'm talking about where does the rain come for example it evaporates off the ocean, comes in and rains on the land. >> rose: you will go back to the mariana trench because odds say, you know, there were parts, you have this wonderful analogy about somebody who lands in a small wheat field somewhere in iowa. >> yes, right. >> rose: kansas maybe. >> yes. i mean, i don't mean to trivialize what we did but i use it as an example how we scratch the surface. if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute at night and you land in an iowa wheat field and you walk around with a flashlight for a couple hours, you don't get to say you explored america. and if you put all these trenches, deep trenches together you get an area equivalent to north america. >> rose: continent. >> it's a dark continent.
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it's never been seen it's pretty exciting. there's life in the deep trenches. >> rose: understand that. we found that. >> there are a lot of theories where life came from originally on planet earth. but a fairly new one is the idea that the seduction process itself these huge tectonic plates grinding over each other actually generates some energy and creates free hydrogen and the bacteria feeds the hydrogen. it's an energy source not a food source coming not from above but below. it's stable over hundreds of millions of years. >> rose: one organism leads to another organism. >> they adapt and move up the chain and come out on land and y o u wind up with us. so we could be looking right into the crucible of life itself.
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and that's pretty cool. and we found that energy source and we found the deepest bacterial mass that's ever occurred. >> rose: you send something down that can stay down for a while and then it can send off submarines. >> sure. >> rose: to explore. >> robotics. sure, i love robotics. i'm on woods holographic institutes hosts the center for robotics and i'm on their advisory board. i don't think there's no substitute for being there and seeing with your own eyes. >> rose: there's also this. you describe how it had an exquisite order to it and you say this is beyond my imagination so i have some sense of awe about what makes this possible. do you have any search for an answer to that? why is it so. >> the beauty of science, the beauty of the natural world and the beauty of science is that every question you answer poses three new questions. i
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f y ou really embrace the spirit of science, it's job security. the investigation never ends, know. it's trying to create a framework for understanding of how it all works. that's what leads scientists on. i'm not a scientist, i don't profess to have a degree but i share the enthusiasm for science with the science community. there are a lot of scientists that are closer. >> rose: well, they share your enthusiasm too and would love to have been there. when you go back down, you will make these three movies that will be through 2016. >> yes. longer because the third one will come out 16, 17, 18. christmas of 18. i'll be promoting it, hopefully i will be on your show in early 19. >> rose: by then, we might have all kinds of technological developments that will just take the potential to make it exponential. >> great, good cool. >> rose: to do things you can do.
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cameras. >> we can figure out. >> rose: can you imagine dropping a camera seven miles down and then letting it fly. >> sure, absolutely. you got to make it smart. it has to be able to pick targets, and navigate. it has to be able to think. it's not a human at least it needs to solve problems. what i would love to do is build, and that system, the delivery system to get that camera down there might well be based on some of the technologies we develop for our vehicles. that's my hope. that's why i donated my vehicle t o the holographic institution because they are at the cutting edge of robotic vehicles. >> rose: things can go wrong. >> oh yes. >> rose: you're at the bottom of the ocean and your thrusters fail. fail. thank god it wasn't something else. >> like the life support. >> rose: what's the thrusters. >> they drive you forward, and up and down. >> rose: sounds important to me. >> you know that old joke you're
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walking in circles because your foot's nailed to the grounds. the thrusters fail on one side you can only turn in a circle. i got stuck. >> rose: you're not able to go forward so therefore you decide to go back up. >> yes. but if i wanted to just set a record for bottom time, i just sat there and eaten my lunch and started to work on my memoirs. i wanted to get back. >> rose: tell everybody what you saw. >> i wanted to get them to start fixing the sub so i could get back down. >> rose: i see. this experimental time, this is the actual mission. >> oh yes. so when i was at the bottom of the challenger deep, we still had planned several more dives. i was going to go back there, we were going to go over to the deep nearby which is almost as deep. we're going to look around, you know, do some science. and so i was in a hurry to get back and give it to the maintenance guys. >> rose: there was also a moment though which you had to make a decision do we continue or not. >> yes. >> rose: what was that moment.
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>> well, they put me in the water, it was kind of high sea state and i had the choice, the weather window was so narrow i had a choice. launch in a high sea state and recover lesser or the other way around. but i couldn't have both so i said all right it's better if i get in the water. it's recover. i would rather you were pulling me out. >> rose: but that was a certain danger in doing that. >> that's right. >> rose: which was. >> if we had a problem, if we had a hold and we had to rerecover the sub to fix it, it would be difficult. what happens was one of my safey systems the hatch popped opened, the bag deployed and the only way to fix that is take me back on the ship. >> rose: and you said no. >> i said cut it away. >> rose: that's your decision. >> that's my call, yes. >> rose: was it easy. >> i thought about it, you know. i thought through the ramifications because that big lift bag that pops ought, that is very hazard to spot from a system and we rely on the red bag to see it.
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i knew it would take that long to find it but it was that or miss the window so i said cut it away let's go. >> rose: where does this rank in terms of things you have done with your life. >> i think it's up there, you know. >> rose: just up there? just up there? i mean aside from family which is clearly the most important. >> delivering my three youngest children. >> rose: watching that experiment. >> yes. i think you have to have a sense of perspective. there are certain things that are so deeply a part of your fiber. there's nothing you can do. it's incredible. >> rose: how could this happen. >> yes, exactly. oh, another one. >> rose: in the sense of magic of earth to be there. >> my wife and i were so deeply bonded over that whole experience. >> rose: she was there. >> she was way there. >> rose: she was there. she kissed you before and when you came back.
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>> she was there on the dive. she was there at the birth too. >> rose: she was so supportive of you. >> yes. >> rose: and involved. >> she was involved and she was, i want to say stoic. not that she was not emotional about me leaving. well her dad was in the air force, he flew tankers, her brothers are pilots, she's a pilot. so she understands risk and she understands why you take risks, because of the joy of flying, let's say. but you go through that checklist and you try the engineering. so she had a framework to put it within that made sense. and i talked her through every safety system. she actually understood that very well.>> rose: really. >> yes. she's a smart girl. >> rose: there's also this, it was famously said the reason i rob banks that's where the money is. >> good point. >> rose: i think it was maybe sir edmond hillary who said why do you want to climb the mountain, and he said, it may
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have been someone else but whoever it is may have said this and i'm not giving you proper credit my apologies beforehand. why do you want to climb mountains and he said because they're there. >> yes, because it's there. i think that's part of it but it's not the major part. i mean, i tend to be really analytical and if we could prove to the science community that we could build a vehicle that could go to the deepest spot in the ocean by definition it could go anywhere in the ocean and it opened up a whole frontier. you see what i mean. so it was symbolic but it was symbolic of access of a capability, and i saw it as the starting point, creating a platform to deliver cameras and instruments and people everywhere. everywhere down there, you know, opening up that dark continent. >> rose: they used to say and thinking about astronauts, i have enormous admiration, they used to say people of literature and poets would say wouldn't it be great if there was a poet on
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board or a novelist on board like the late norman mailer used to say something like it's so amazing. >> there are people who wish to be artists within science and technology. >> rose: to make sure we understand all of the ramifications of this remarkable experience. feel it, touch it, understand it, take it to its highest place. >> yes. there's two kinds of people in the world. people who think there's two kinds of people in the world and people who don't. i don't think there's two kinds of people in the world. y ou can be a humanist and artist on the one hand or tech null jils or scientist on the other at the same time. >> rose: there's a whole notion of obsession, perfectism. >> i would say an obsession would be an unhealthy overfocus on something as opposed to drive and the desire to finish what you start. these are good things.
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in sports metaphors and so on it's good to have the drive once you start. >> rose: what is it for you. >> as an explorer. >> rose: whatever. tells me how james cameron at his age now having done what he has done wants to do. >> well, an idea popped into my head last night that i'm going to pursue. it may lead to something, you know, we'll have to see where it leads. what i would love to see is a vehicle that could follow a s p erm whale on its dief dive down a mile and see what it does down there, see how it eats, how it behaves and find its prey in total darkness so it didn't distisht or scare it or change its behavior and see how it happens. >> rose: have the same agility. >> same agility and speed and everything else. that's possible but it would
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require new technologies to do it. that exsites me. we don't know. i was talking to some of my guys last night together as part of the subteam thinking what we could do next. i said hey how about this and you could see the wheels start to turn. this is how stuff starts. >> rose: what is it about having done what you have done and thought as you have thought about the ocean. i mean, what is it that's one thing, what is it that sperm whales do. we don't know. what else don't we know about the ocean that excites you? >> what's down there, what's down there geologically, what causes these, what are the exact causes of these huge tsunamis that kill so many people. why don't we understand that better. why can't we put down a network of sensors that learn to create modeling. >> rose: and for warnings. >> yes, get some warning going, why can't we do that because we're so darn smart. there's no money. >> rose: coming to your side of the coast.
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>> i'll bet the japanese are interested in that problem. >> rose: you bet. congratulations. >> thanks. >> rose: it's really quite amazing. >> thank you. >> rose: it's quite amazing to suggest why we need film makers and artists is it we can go down with you, we can experience what you did and we can through this kind of program understand what it takes takes to do what you did. i also mentioned national geographics. this is june 2013 but there is. >> last year. >> rose: we have technology that you can go find it. some sense of what it is that makes explorers explore. thanks to james cameron. thank you for joining me. see you next time. >> somebody has to go. a robot can't tell you how it feels.
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i did not come all this way ... it's important to physically be here to bear witness to the things that have never been seen. that little kid dreaming of going to the bottom of the ocean, all things seem possible. i w onder what other kids will do, where they'll go, what they'll see. what new worlds await them. i hope there's some kid out there right now who is already dreaming of exploring worlds we can't even imagine.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
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