James Cameron has donated his record-breaking submarine to science

Last year, James Cameron became the third person in history to venture to the deepest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep. He was also the first person to ever make the trip alone – a trip he made in a badass submersible, fittingly named the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. Now, one year after his historic dive, he's donating the sub to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Cameron explained the donation in a statement:

The seven years we spent designing and building the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER were dedicated to expanding the options available to deep-ocean researchers. Our sub is a scientific proof-of-concept, and our partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a way to provide the technology we developed to the oceanographic community.

WHOI is a world leader in deep submergence, both manned and unmanned. I’ve been informally associated with WHOI for more than 20 years, and I welcome this opportunity to formalize the relationship with the transfer of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible system and science platform. WHOI is a place where the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER system will be a living, breathing and dynamic program going forward.

Last year, Cameron lamented the sorry state of deep sea research funding, calling today's ocean exploration "piss poor." He's right, of course – and things are perhaps more dire now than ever. Let's hope his donation does some good in the hands of America's largest independent oceanographic research institution.