Spotlight: Manned submersible Jiaolong shows China's mettle in science, high-tech

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-24 23:53:09|Editor: An
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BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Experts are amazed at China's scientific and technological progress as the country's manned submersible Jiaolong successfully launched an exploration mission at the Mariana Trench in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

China, they said, is much more advanced in science and high-tech and has shown its mettle in these sectors that have been surging forward rapidly and benefiting developing countries in particular, which prefer to buy Chinese technology due to cheaper prices.

The experts' response came as Jiaolong completed the first of a series of divings into the Mariana Trench, the world's deepest trench known so far, on Tuesday.

"China is now one of the major contributors to science and technology in Bangladesh and many countries across the world," said Masud Ahmed, principal of Marine Fisheries Academy in Bangladesh.

He said Jiaolong once again demonstrated China's commitment to the development of science and high-tech.

"We've seen in the past few decades significant advancements in the fields of science and technologies coming out of China," Ahmed said, adding that it was very impressive that the submersible is able to navigate such deep waters.

Expecting Chinese researchers to have "the highest global recognition," Ahmed said, "We won't be surprised if we see that many Chinese scientists are getting even Nobel Prizes."

Mohammad Shahjahan Siddiqui, a professor at Dhaka's Daffodil International University, said it is good to see that China can now make sophisticated equipment.

"China is going to have the third (largest) airplane industry after the United States and France. She has already proved her ability to challenge the West on technology," Siddiqui said.

Jiaolong dived 4,811 meters beneath sea level and stayed there for over three hours in the latest mission, which altogether lasted nearly nine hours.

Scientists brought back samples of sea water and sediment from near the seabed, and made high-definition photographs and videos. They also tested the submersible's technical equipment, including mechanical arms.

Being able to get down there, either by humans or robots, is the key for deep ocean exploration, said Jian Lin, a Chinese-American marine geophysicist who is currently aboard the international scientific drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution in the South China Sea.

Jiaolong, with a crew of three, is now the manned submersible that can go the deepest in the world's oceans, allowing scientists to explore their wonders and surprises, he said.

The mission, which has also taken Jiaolong to the Yap Trench, is the third and final stage of China's 38th oceanic scientific expedition that started on Feb. 6 and is scheduled to finish on June 18. The two previous stages were successfully completed in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, respectively.

Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.

The return of Jiaolong to the Mariana Trench brings new opportunities for scientific discoveries and increasing knowledge of the alien ocean depths, Lin said.

Meanwhile, Michael Perfit, a professor at the University of Florida who has participated in over 20 oceanographic research cruises and taken more than 35 dives in the deep-sea submersible ALVIN, called Jiaolong's dive at the Mariana Trench an "exciting development."

"Being able to dive deeper than the existing human occupied research submersibles (have done before) opens up new avenues and areas for research," he said.

"We know so little about these regions in terms of their morphology, biology, chemistry and geology. Because of the great depths (pressures) in all of the oceanic trenches, any information we can get whether it is geophysical, geochemical or by remote vehicle is important for us to understand the processes that take place on more than 60 percent of Earth that is largely unaccessible," he added.