James Cameron named National Geographic explorer

James Cameron James Cameron plans to travel to the depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean

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Academy Award-winning director James Cameron has been named a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.

The 56-year-old, who joins just 14 others who hold the honour, said it was "as amazing" as winning an Oscar.

The National Geographic list includes some of the world's most successful explorers and scientists.

In his role, Cameron plans to pilot a one-man submarine 11,000m (36,000ft) below sea level, to a part of the Pacific Ocean rarely seen.

The director told AFP that, as a teenager, he could think of "nothing better than to be an ocean explorer".

He made the Oscar-winning film Titanic because it gave him the opportunity to "dive the wreck" of the ocean liner, he added.

Cameron is helping to build a mini-submarine that will descend into the darkest reaches of the sea next June to the depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

"Our goal is to be on the bottom in less than an hour so that we can spend six or seven hours on the bottom doing science, taking images, taking core samples, discovering new species," he said.

Marine ecologist Enric Sala was also named a new explorer-in-residence.

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