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China to build deep-sea "space station" carrying dozens of people

Editor: zhangrui 丨CRI

03-10-2017 07:21 BJT

China is planning to build a deep-sea "space station" capable of accommodating dozens of people and able to reach depths of 1000 meters, according to Yan Kai, director of the State Key Laboratory for Manned Deep-sea Equipment, reported by Science and Technology Daily.

"While Jiaolong, China's manned deep-sea research submersible, can only carry several people, undertaking a 12-hour underwater trip, a future 'space station' might weigh thousands of tons and be capable of staying beneath the sea for over two weeks and carry dozens of people", says Yan Kai, who's also a member of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislator.

This kind of long-term inhabited underwater station would be packed with a variety of equipment, such as small manned submersibles to facilitate deep sea research work. The station could accommodate scientists to cultivate deep sea creatures, discover oil and gas resources, as well as analyze the genes of organisms for potential medical use.

But an oceanic manned station poses many mobility and technical challenges, says Yan Kai. Considering the length of time it would stay submerged he suggests it would need to use fuel cells, nuclear power or even a yet-to-be-discovered new undersea energy.

In addition, there would need to be breakthroughs in deep-sea communication and navigation, accuracy and precision controls, and special lightweight materials designed to take account of it large scale, and the intense pressure at a depth of 1000 meters.

A deep-sea station is part of China's major science, technology and innovation plan for 2030, highlighted in the 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020) on Scientific and Technological Innovation, unveiled by Wan Gang, China's Science and Technology Minister, back in January.


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