Scientists dig toward center of the earth

January 16, 2006

A Japanese ship is setting sail on a mission to reveal the origin of life on earth.

The Chikyu intends to drill 4.3 miles below the sea bed and raise to the surface a cylinder that could contain science's first glimpse of a "living" sample of the Earth's mantle, the Times of London reported.

Plans also call for the ship to sink sensors beneath the Earth's crust to provide Japan and East Asia with the first effective earthquake prediction system.

Some scientists theorize life may have originated beneath the Earth's crust at temperatures and pressures unknown on land or sea, the newspaper said. The energy that provoked the first semblance of life may also have been geothermal rather than solar.

By drilling to record-breaking depths below areas where tectonic plates overlap, the ship may have its sensors in place as an earthquake begins and significantly advance the science of seismology, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Climate is changing fast in West Antarctica

Related Stories

Climate is changing fast in West Antarctica

November 23, 2015

When the ship pulls up at Palmer Station each Antarctic spring, the arriving scientists glance up at the massive glacier that covers most of Anvers Island. It has been retreating about 7 meters per year, and this year is ...

Mars will come to fear my botany powers

November 10, 2015

NASA seems to believe that making space habitable will require more finesse than Elon Musk's "let's nuke Mars" plan, and has funded a couple of synbio projects which seek to provide "the means to produce food, medical supplies ...

Ten ways advanced computing catalyzes science

November 19, 2015

When researchers need to compare complex new genomes, or map new regions of the Arctic in high-resolution detail, or detect signs of dark matter, or make sense of massive amounts of functional MRI data, they turn to the high-performance ...

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.