Author: Jin Zhu
Jiaolong, the manned submersible, could put China at the forefront of deep-sea exploration if attempts to dive to 7,000 meters are successful this month, a senior official involved in the project said on Sunday.
The vessel’s crew, who on previous missions passed 5,000 meters, will bid to make history with a series of tests in the Pacific Ocean starting June 10.
“If it reaches the new target, it will represent major progress,” said Liu Feng, deputy director of China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association, which planned the mission with the State Oceanic Administration.
“After the dive, Jiaolong will be put into use to conduct deep-sea scientific research, such as exploring for natural resources and underwater environmental surveys.” For example, he said, unlike other countries, China will be able to collect biological samples from the deepest parts of oceans.
“Some deep-sea natural resources could be utilized in our daily lives in the future, such as by the pharmaceuticals industry to develop new drugs,” Liu added.
Xiangyanghong 09, the ship carrying Jiaolong, left the port city of Jiangyin in Jiangsu province on Sunday morning, heading for the Mariana Trench.
The submersible, which is 8.2 meters long and weighs nearly 22 tons, is scheduled to complete its first dive on June 10, with up to five more tests before the end of the month. It will return to China in mid-July.
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