James Cameron is taking “Avatar” for a dive into the deep blue. The sequel to the film that first introduced moviegoers to the alien world of Pandora is set to explore its oceans, as the director revealed to the Los Angeles Times.
But that’s about all Cameron gave away, other than to add that the oceans are as “rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative” as the rain forest “Avatar” fans have already come to know. Luckily, however, we’ve already learned quite a bit about Pandora’s oceans, thanks to the Cameron-approved bible “A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora.” With an eye toward figuring out what we might see in a sequel, here’s everything we know about Pandora’s deep blue oceans.
A moon of a much larger planet, Pandora is roughly the same size as Earth, and like our planet, it has continents and islands surrounded by blue seas. Although Pandora lacks Earth’s large continents, the alien world actually has a greater land-to-water ratio than Earth. That means there are more coasts and beaches on Pandora. Huge rafts of floating seaweed can be found on ocean surfaces. While there are not great temperature variations on Pandora, there is an arctic region with free-floating ice caps on the oceans themselves. Highly volcanic, the moon also has vents under the oceans that have the capacity to unleash the violent pressure trapped deep within Pandora’s core. Sea-level pressure is approximately 10 percent less than it is on Earth, partly owing to the fact that Pandora’s gravity is 80 percent of Earth’s. As we’ve seen in the rain forests, almost all living things on Pandora have the capacity for bioluminescence, a visible light emitted as a result of chemical reactions or a symbiotic relationship with another organism. We can expect the oceans, then, to be filled with phosphorescent rainbow hues. The most common colors are green or blue, but the entire color spectrum is represented through bioluminescence.
“Avatar” didn’t explore creatures of the deep, but at this point, we are aware of some animals inhabiting oceanic territory. The Tetrapteron is a flamingo-like winged predator with a large beak and glassy teeth. It is a fish-eater and can consequently be found near oceans. The Hellfire Wasp, a fast insect with dual stingers, is native to Pandora’s beaches. While the wasp is only the size of a sparrow, it can form enormous swarms. The Dinicthoid is a fierce, piranha-like predator that lives in lakes and lowland drainages. Although there’s no indication that it is also found in oceans, humans on Pandora are said to be developing weaponized versions of these fish. Might these so-called “space fish” turn up in the oceans? Don’t be surprised if they do.
We know that tribes of Na’vi live in rain-forest, subarctic, swampland and mountainous regions. How much do you want to bet there’s also a tribe that lives by the oceans, feasting on — and doing battle with — the seas’ creatures? Although the existence of such a tribe remains unknown to us (if not to Cameron and the futuristic humans on Pandora), we do know that the Na’vi are capable fishermen (or fisher-vi?). Their traditional fishing spear is a 1.8-meter weapon built of wood and tipped with an arrow made from a seed case. The arrow is designed to corkscrew into the ground, preventing prey from escaping.
We’ve already touched on the humans’ experiments with the Dinicthoid. The Resources Development Administration, the organization charged with exploiting Pandora’s natural resources, also has multiple vehicles for traveling across water. The RDA Boat, for instance, can be used for both military operations and civilian transport. It can reach speeds of up to 45 knots on Earth-like oceans. Its weaponry? Two 30-millimeter sentry guns. Built to carry up to four passengers, the boat provides armed escorts for larger ships and can be used to ferry scientists and Avatars to various sites. Equipped with a “hush-mode” engine, the boat can also be used for night-rescue missions. We wouldn’t be shocked if this vessel plays a key role in the next “Avatar.”
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