7 Miles Down! Submersible Reaches the Deepest Place on Earth

Doug Williams
 
Credit: Xinhua
Credit: Xinhua

Footage has been released of a manned submersible, Fendouzhe (also known as Striver), reaching 10,909 metres deep in the Mariana Trench.

 

The Mariana Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean and is the deepest oceanic trench on Earth. Apparently, it is so deep that if Mount Everest were put in the deepest point of the trench, it’s peak would still be underwater by over two kilometres.

Only a few people have ever visited the bottom of the Marina Trench. Now, there has been live stream footage released of the green and white Fendouzhe submersible moving through the dark waters before being parked at the bottom of the trench.

Credit: Xinhua

Credit: Xinhua

The submersible returned to China’s Hainan province on Saturday morning after completing its research expedition. To undertake this scientific research, the Fendouzhe had three researchers on board.

Xi (general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Committee) congratulated the researchers. He said that the development of the Fendouzhe and its sea trial ‘represented China’s comprehensive strength in the field of marine high technology.’

Credit: Xinhua

Credit: Xinhua

1960 was the first year that anyone ever went to the bottom of the Marina Trench. For years after no one else attempted it until 2012 when the famous Hollywood director, James Cameron (famous for the Terminator, Titanic and Avatar) made a solo journey down there. James Cameron said the place was an alien environment and that it was desolate.

Mariana Trench

Mariana Trench

While the Fendouzhe team were down there recently, they had to cope with all kinds of problems, such as rain, high temperatures and typhoons. The purpose of the Fendouzhe is to observe the different kinds of species that live on the floor of the ocean.

The submarine is fitted with robotic arms so that it is able to collect samples from the seabed. It also has sonar ‘eyes’ which are able to identify objects by using sound waves. Because of all the equipment the vessel needed to carry, the engineers had to design it in a specific way to allow it to keep its balance. This meant it had a bulbous protrusion coming out of the front.

The expedition began on 10th October and from that moment the submersible has managed to successfully complete thirteen dives. It managed to go over 10,000 metres deep for eight of those dives. It wasn’t until 10th November however, that the submersible set a new national record by going to the deepest part of the trench (Challenger Deep) and got to 10,909 metres deep.

Whilst the research group did manage to set a national record, they missed the world record by just a few metres. The world record is 10,927 metres and was set by an American explorer named Victor Vescovo, in 2019. They may not have cracked the world record, but they were certainly the first people to ever live stream from the seabed.

This is the third manned, deep-sea submersible from China. The purpose of them all is to observe and examine living things on the seabed and even though the water pressure at the bottom of the Marina trench is ‘8 tons per square inch’, there is still plenty of life down there.

While they were down there the researchers were collecting specimens to bring back for their research work. They managed to find plenty of single-cell organisms down on the ocean floor, but they didn’t see much in the way of large animals.

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It is now expected that Fendouzhe will be the vessel that sets the standards for china’s future deep-sea vessels. A researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said, ‘It takes more than two trials before we can call it a real success.’

 
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