Crewed Chinese submersible dives to the Earth’s deepest ocean trench

Earlier this month, a Chinese submersible – carrying three scientists aboard – sent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the ocean – after diving 10,909 meters (35,790 feet).

The Fendouzhe, or Striver, broke the country’s record for the deepest crewed dive after spending nearly four hours descending in the western Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, the green and white submersible provided the first live broadcast from the depths of the ocean. The images taken by the submersible’s cameras were broadcast on Beijing’s state broadcaster CCTV.

Fendouzhe stayed at the bottom of the trench for more than six hours to collect marine samples and document the surrounding landscape. Its journey is shy of the deepest-ever manned dive by 18 meters (59 feet). It took less than 200 minutes to reach the bottom of the sea.

The submersible was supposed to use its robotic arms to collect biological samples of the plants, seawater, marine creatures, and rocks from the seabed in the Mariana Trench and map their environment using sonar. One of the researchers told CCTV that the scientists were able to observe “many species” during the dive.

But China has developed a team of machines to help it explore the abundant natural resources in the deep sea. These minerals are essential to the manufacture of technological products such as cell phones, batteries, or lasers. Significant reserves of these metals are located in China and the United States, among others.

Chinese engineers finished developing and assembling the Fendouzhe in February, having started on the project in 2016. The watercraft completed 25 tasks during a three-month experiment from March to June, according to a previous CCTV report.

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