Monday, November 30, 2020

Chinese manned deep-sea submersible gets rare look at deepest ocean depths, the Mariana Trench

A Chinese scientist with China's Fendouzhe submersible mission on Wednesday released some footages shot at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest oceanic trench on Earth.

From Science Times by Erika P.

In a live-streamed footage, China has broken its record for the deepest manned dive into the world's deepest oceanic trench. The Chinese submersible, named "Fendouzhe," or "Strive," descended on the seabed of Mariana Trench on Tuesday morning after one month of sailing from Hainan province in China.

The submersible dived an estimated 10,909 meters (35,790 feet) into the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean with three researchers on board, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

China's Deep-Sea Manned Submersible

The recent dive has beaten its record by over 800 meters (2,624 feet) and missed out on beating the world record for the deepest dive in Mariana Trench, which was set by American undersea explorer Victor Vescovo.

He claims to have reached a depth of 10,927 meters (35,853 feet) last year in May.

This week, video footage from the underwater camera showed that the green and white Chinese submersible is moving through dark waters in the Mariana Trench surrounded by clouds of sediments as it touches down the seabed.

According to a report by, China has conducted multiple dives of Fendouzhe earlier this month and landed on the deepest known point of the trench, which is the Challenger Deep, just a few meters higher than the world record of Vescovo.

For the first time, the world witnessed the first live video from Challenger deep as the Chinese submersible descends into the Earth's deepest oceanic trench.

Fendouzhe has robotic arms that it uses to collect biological samples and sonar eyes to identify its surroundings using sound waves.

Since it is carrying too much equipment, the engineers had to add a bulbous forehead or a protrusion that contains buoyant materials to keep its balance.

Rare Earths: Deep-Sea Resources

The country's goal aside from scientific exploration is to explore the abundance that is hidden in the deep ocean, said Ye Cong, the submersible's designer.

He told the state-run media that they need high-tech diving equipment to help better draw a "treasure map" of the deep part of the ocean.

In 2018, Japan did a remarkable discovery of rare earth resources on its small island of Minamitori in the Pacific Ocean where it is said that recoverable resources are 1,000 times more than on land. 

"The ocean floor is a whole new world.
If we don't explore this world, others will explore it," the CCTV said.

Rare earths are used for the production of high-tech products like smartphones, missile systems, and radar, which is currently controlled by China, according to CNN. Its capital is working hard to retain its dominance in this industry, reaching a record-breaking quota in July that is as high as 140,000 tons (140 million kilograms).

That being said, China is participating in joint research and training with the International Seabed Authority, to train professionals on deep-sea technology and conduct further research on mining for rare earths found in the deep sea.

Fendouzhe is seen to set the standards for the future of deep-sea vessels of China.

But Zhu Min, one of the researchers, said that it would take two trials before the success of the submersible's mission is declared.

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