China's Jiaolong sub to attempt deepest manned-dive

Jun 11, 2012
The Chinese submersible "Jiaolong" is lifted into the Huanghai sea in Jiangyin in 2011. The Jiaolong craft has arrived at a designated area in the Pacific Ocean aboard a Chinese ship and is set to dive 7,000 metres (22,960 feet) into the Mariana Trench, the official Xinhua news agency said Monday.

A Chinese submersible is poised to attempt the country's deepest-ever manned dive, state media said Monday, as Beijing seeks to reach another technological milestone.

The "Jiaolong" craft has arrived at a designated area in the Pacific Ocean aboard a Chinese ship and is set to dive 7,000 metres (22,960 feet) into the , the official said.

The vessel -- named after a dragon from Chinese mythology -- reached 5,188 metres in a Pacific Ocean dive last July, Xinhua said, theoretically putting most of the ocean floor's vast resources within China's reach.

Earlier this year, American film director descended about seven miles (11 kilometres) to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific -- the deepest place in the world.

His effort is believed to have at least equalled the record for the deepest manned dive, set by a US Navy officer and a Swiss in 1960, according to .

In the first of its six dives, the Jiaolong -- which can take up to three crew -- will venture down more than 5,000 metres, then progressively increase the depth in later missions, each of them eight to 12 hours long, Xinhua said.

Calls to the State Oceanic Administration went unanswered.

The deep-sea dive push comes as China plans to launch a spacecraft to conduct its first manned space docking later this month, part of its efforts to establish a permanent space station by 2020.

A Chinese expert told AFP that the Jiaolong could be used for scientific research, to collect samples of undersea life and study geological structures.

"It's not a simply constructed submersible," said Jian Zhimin, director of the State Key Laboratory of at Shanghai's Tongji University.

"If it is successful in the 7,000-metre challenge, then it can be turned over to scientists for use," he said.

Since the Jiaolong's maximum design depth is 7,000 metres a to that level will test the limits of China's technology, he added.

Energy-hungry China has previously said its submersible programme is aimed at scientific research, peaceful exploration and natural resources.

Scientists say the oceans' floors contain rich deposits of potentially valuable minerals, but the extreme depths pose technical difficulties in harvesting them on a wide scale.

Explore further: Aging Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China attempts dive to 5,000m: state media

Jul 25, 2011

A Chinese submersible embarked on what the crew hoped would be the country's deepest manned dive ever Tuesday, state media reported, as it seeks to exploit the vast resources of the ocean floor. ...

China sub makes first dive to below 5,000m

Jul 26, 2011

A Chinese submersible conducted the country's deepest manned dive Tuesday in the latest technological milestone for China, which theoretically puts most of the ocean floor's vast resources within its reach.

China sub makes first dive to below 4,000m

Jul 21, 2011

A Chinese submersible conducted the country's deepest manned dive ever Thursday in the latest milestone for China's deep-sea ambitions as it seeks to exploit the vast resources of the ocean floor.

Branson congratulates 'incredible' Cameron dive

Mar 26, 2012

British billionaire and adventurer Richard Branson may have lost his unwritten race to the bottom of the ocean with James Cameron, but he told AFP Monday he wants to team up with the Hollywood director.

Recommended for you

Aging Africa

2 hours ago

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

NASA animation shows Hurricane Marie winding down

2 hours ago

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the Eastern Pacific and has been covering Hurricane Marie since birth. NASA's GOES Project uses NOAA data and creates animations and did so to show the end of Hurricane ...

EU project sails off to study Arctic sea ice

8 hours ago

A one-of-a-kind scientific expedition is currently heading to the Arctic, aboard the South Korean icebreaker Araon. This joint initiative of the US and Korea will measure atmospheric, sea ice and ocean properties with technology ...

User comments : 0