Chinese inventor builds sub to take divers to the Mariana Trench
A Chinese scientist is planning to open up the deepest parts of the oceans to divers and explorers with a radical new submarine system.
This week Cui Weicheng launched the mother ship and a prototype of his deep water three-man sub in the first stage of his ambitious plans to broaden exploration to the rarely visited extreme depths of the world's ocean.
Parts of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean plunge to depths of more than 11,000m. Only three manned teams have ever descended to such depths - the Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard and US Navy's Donald Walsh in 1960 and explorer and filmmaker James Cameron in 2012.
But Cui wants to open the least explored part of our planets to scientists, conservationists and divers with his Rainbow Fish project.
Cui’s sub hopes to reach the Challenger Deep region of the Mariana Trench in two hours. Cameron took 2 hours and 36 minutes to make his descent. The Rainbow Fish sub is 10m long with a streamlined shape, has an outer shell of fibreglass and includes externally mounted cameras, a mechanical arm and a glass window 4cm thick.
Cui was one of the senior designers of the Jiaolong, a Chinese government funded manned submarine that has completed more than 100 dives and has reached a depth of 7,061m.
He said Rainbow Fish 'will be open to scientists around the globe so we can work together on some of the most intriguing and important issues to the human race. The sea trench is a paradise for strange, mysterious life forms. Some species could have stayed there and evolved for hundreds of millions of years without any contact with the world outside… If Chinese scientists are to make ground-breaking discoveries, these are the last untapped zones on this planet.
'We must reach there and reveal the full picture of biodiversity in the ocean before the miners bring in their machines,' he said. 'Only with solid evidence can we argue with business and government for environmental protection in the deep. The Rainbow Fish is not built for the purpose of exploitation, but conservation. It will focus on research on ecological environment and climate, ocean environment protection and even earthquake forecast.'