It appears that James Cameron has beat Sir Richard Branson to the deepest point on Earth -- the Mariana Trench. The current issue of National Geographic features Cameron on the cover, and has a lengthy piece on the complete expedition.
Originally Posted by National Geographic
DEEPSEA CHALLENGER lay in its cradle on the deck of its mother ship, Mermaid Sapphire, in Jervis Bay, Australia, a quiet anchorage 125 miles south of Sydney. Cameronís plan was to hopscotch across the South Pacific, testing DEEPSEA CHALLENGER in a series of ever deeper dives before subjecting it to the crushing pressure of the Mariana Trenchís 16,000 pounds per square inch. The team had plotted a course that would take it from shallow Australian coves to a deep trench off the coast of Papua New Guinea and then to the open seas above the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, known as the Challenger Deep. No manned craft had visited the location since the U.S. Navy bathyscaph Trieste reached a depth of 35,800 feet in 1960, piloted by Lt. Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard. Cameron had invited Walsh on board the Mermaid Sapphire to contribute his firsthand knowledge of the trench.
You can find the full article here
A companion photo gallery can be viewed here
, and there's a robust companion site to the expedition over here
I wish I had known that the sub was going to be on display in Los Angeles, I would have gone and visited.