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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Chinese Crewed Sub Sets National Record
25 June 2012 4:23 pm
Early on 24 June, China's crewed deep-sea submersible, the Jiaolong, set a new Chinese record by diving more than 7000 meters near the Mariana Trench. The sub will now be put to use for undisclosed research and exploration trips in the next 3 to 5 years.
The plunge is remarkable in part because China began deep-sea exploration only a decade ago. (This dive did not match that of National Geographic explorer James Cameron, however, who reported reaching a depth of 10,898 meters in a privately financed sub in March). Although researchers at the No.702 Institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in Wuxi first proposed building a deep-diving sub in 1992, the project did not get the green light until 2002. To speed its development, about 40% of the vehicle's parts, including the robotic arms, underwater lighting equipment, and imaging system, were imported or made abroad, project chief designer Xu Qinan told Chinese media. The heart of the vehicle, the pressure compartment, was designed in China, but construction was outsourced to a Russian company because China lacked the expertise to weld titanium alloy plates together in a way to withstand the crushing pressures so deep below the ocean's surface.
On 13 June, Jiaolong and its three-member diving team arrived at the Mariana Trench for six dives to test two distinct functions: cruising at a given depth to explore or staying on the ocean floor to collect samples. On its fourth dive on Sunday morning, Jiaolong touched bottom at 7020 meters after a 3-hour descent. The successful plunge concludes Jiaolong's R&D phase, and the submersible will be "turned over from its research team to its operating team" at the National Deep Sea Base currently under construction in Qingdao, according to Zhu Min, deputy designer of Jiaolong at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Acoustics.