The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep. It is located beneath the Western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, running several hundred kilometers southwest of the United States overseas territorial island of Guam.
It is estimated that the depth of the Challenger Deep is between 10,898 to 10,916 metres (10.8 to 10.9 kilometres). Two manned missions have successfully reached the depth of the Challenger Deep in the past.
China is now looking to develop the latest submersible vehicle that would be the third manned vehicle to reach the ocean’s deepest point.
China’s state news agency Xinhua reports the new submersible is being developed by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). CSIC has built unmanned submersible vehicles for the country in the past.
In June 2012, CSIC led the development of a manned vehicle called Jiaolong. After completion, the robotic machine reached a depth of 7,062 metres in the Mariana Trench. This was a huge achievement for the Chinese.
Last year, the Chinese completed another remotely-operated submersible vehicle named the Haidou-1. This reached the bottom of Challenger Deep, making it the fourth unmanned submersible vehicle to have reached the Challenger Deep.
CSIC said it is on course to deliver the nation’s first-ever submersible manned vehicle capable of reaching the depth of the Challenger Deep. CSIC also said it was working on another submersible, rated for depths of up to 4,500 metres. According to CSIC, this particular vehicle is in its final assembly and testing phase.
However, if the manned vehicle is complete and capable of reaching the depth of the Challenger Deep, it would be the third manned submersible vehicle to do so. The first manned vehicle to reach the Challenger Deep was designed and built by Switzerland and Italy. The vehicle was named Bathyscaphe Trieste. It made its successful mission to the depth of the Challenger Deep in 1960.
It then took more than 50 years before the Australian submersible vehicle, the Deepsea Challenger, piloted by the famous film director and sea exploration enthusiast, James Cameron, made the same achievement in 2012.
With this machine development in progress, it is adding to the Chinese advancement on their national defense. In 2016, two top Pentagon officials admitted that the Chinese army is increasingly becoming technological. This candid Pentagon admission came after disputes over the South China Sea, which has nearly dragged the United States and China into war in recent times.
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