China's first manned submarine sets new record

13:31, July 28, 2011      

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The Jiaolong, China's first manned deep-sea submarine, reached a depth of 5,000 meters during its second test dive at 6:07 a.m. Beijing time on July 26, 159 minutes after it entered the water. It dived to 5,057 meters below sea level 10 minutes later, setting a new Chinese deep dive record and marking a milestone in the country's history.

Ji Guo, a senior official of the State Oceanic Administration, said that since the Chinese Academy of Engineering held a conference on the development of China's manned deep-sea submarines about 10 years ago, Xu Qinan and other experts as well as related departments have actively cooperated with one another. They have made unremitting efforts to design and produce China's first manned deep-sea submarine.

The vessel was only able to dive to 1,000 meters underwater at the initial stage, but now can reach a depth of over 5,000 meters. The Jiaolong will soon conduct a record-breaking 7,000-meter test dive.

Important step for China toward great deep-sea power

How should we regard the significance of this ongoing marine experiment ?

Ji believes that exceeding the depth of 5,000 meters indicates that China has made a breakthrough in the high-tech marine realm. and it means that China is already able to reach 70 percent of the deepest regions of the world's oceans. And it is also a significant technological leap of China's marine exploration.

"Of course, this successful deep-sea diving will offer technical supports for China to fulfill its international duties."

Ji explained that the latest round of deep-sea diving was carried out in an ore district of 75,000 square kilometers at the international seabed of the Pacific. China has the right of priority to prospect for and exploit the ores in this district. And while enjoying the right, China is also responsible of making specific investigations and environmental evaluations for this district. That is also one of the tasks of the Jiaolong in this deep-sea diving.

The successful marine experiment this time also attracted the attention of many international media. The U.S. Wall Street Journal said predicted that the Jiaolong's crossing of the 5,000-meter mark will become a remarkable event in the competition between China and the United States in the high-risk technological realm.

The Japan Times commented that it only took China 10 years to realize the dream of its ancestors and join the club of great deep-sea powers.

The U.S. Nature magazine said that it was a historic moment in China's natural exploration and the new depth reached is a milestone of China's engineering technology.

The U.S. Philadelphia Trumpet newsmagazine said that after the successful experiment of reaching the depth of 5,000 meters, China will march forward to the even deeper limit of 7,000 meters in 2012. If it succeeds, it means China will be able to explore 99.9 percent of the world's oceans.

By Zhang Baoshu from People's Daily Overseas Edition, translated by People's Daily Online

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