Wednesday, October 13, 2010

James Cameron and Friends Soar Weightless in the AVATAR ZERO-G Experience

The Avatar director took 30 high profile passengers out for an experience of various levels of gravity over the weekend, via the Zero-G Experience.

LOS ANGELES, October 12 -- While the man responsible for the world's two biggest box office hits may only be able to take viewers to Pandora through the magic of the silver screen, he just took one step closer to the stars, all in the name of charity.

On October 9th, James Cameron participated in an Avatar-themed event in which 30 passengers took flight aboard G-Force One, a plane owned by the company Zero G, the first company approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to offer weightless flights for the general public.

Performing Avatar-Type Near Space FlightThe event was put into place in order to help raise funds for the X-Prize Foundation, a non-profit group which organizes large-scale international prize competitions, with the purpose of helping stimulate the obtention of funds for scientific research worth more than the given prize itself.

Filmmaker Cameron was joined by a bevy of dignitaries from all branches of business, including Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment; Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation; X-Prize Foundation Board Members Elon Musk (Chairman and CEO of SpaceX) and Rob McEwen (Chairman and CEO of US Gold.

This impressive group was joined on board by three winners who got their seat through winning bids on eBay, whereas 20 seats were sold at 15,000$ apiece. The flight was made on a modified Boeing 727 craft cleverly named "G-Force One", an obvious nod to the presidential plane reserved for the american Commander-in-Chief.

In a flight which mirrored that of NASA training astronauts, G-Force One performed no less than 15 parabolic arcs, during which passengers find themselves in a state of weightlessness, however momentarily. According to sources related to this fund-raising effort, the lucky winning passengers were given the chance to experience various states of gravity, comparable to that of the moon (one sixth Earth's gravity), that of Mars (one third) and complete weightlessness, allowing those aboard to fly like Superman inside the padded cabin.

Enjoying Zero Gravity for a Great Cause

When asked about the popularity of this type of flight as well as its commercial viability, X-Prize founder Dr. Diamandis focused on its value as a fund-raising opportunity. "Entrepreneurs and innovators are creating technologies which are making spaceflight affordable...whether it is flying aboard a Zero-G flight, a sub-orbital flight into space, or a private flight to orbit." He went on to say that the Saturday flight "gathered six X-Prize trustees and 20 philanthropists who believe we can use incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for humanity."

James Cameron, known for his interest in all things teerestrial and above (as seen in the documentary Ghosts of the Abyss) echoed the words of his fellow passenger by pointing to the scientific potential such events may help push forward. "The rapid acceleration of technology is enabling small teams to conduct exploration that was only possible by national governments. The X-Prize Foundation helps to set and incentivize audacious and worthy targets."

The Oscar-winning director went on to state that "if Avatar has created heightened interest on the importance of caring for our environment, science exploration and the potential for groundbreaking innovation then we have succeeded."

Avatar Still Making the News

The film, which has netted over 760 million dollars domestically, is the subject of much talk as of late, with the re-release of a slightly longer theatrical cut which made an appearance in theatres in late August. After the best-selling release of a bare bones DVD and Bluray offering in April 2010, Cameron promised a full-blown collector's set due out November 16th, touted as the definitive version of his latest masterpiece.

Look for the detailed review of this new version, when the title hits stores. Meanwhile, to learn more about the fund-raising groups mentioned in this news item, go to, or

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