China's top research vessel on maiden expedition
Updated: 2014-04-09 08:03
China's most advanced marine research vessel Kexue embarked on its first scientific mission from Qingdao in Shandong province on Tuesday, exploring the origins of life.
Carrying 46 scientists and technicians, it will head for the Okinawa Trough Hydrothermal Zone between the Ryukyu Islands and the Diaoyu Islands for research on the structure, dynamics and consequences of the Western Pacific Ocean System.
The vessel features world-class equipment, including a remote operated vehicle, deep-towed vehicle, rock drill and deep-sea exploration and sampling gear, said Zhang Xin, an associate researcher at the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Zhang is responsible for the vessel's technology.
Fa Xian, the remote operated vehicle, is equipped with the world's most advanced deep-sea high-definition camera system, Zhang said.
According to the schedule, the Ke Xue will arrive in the targeted sea area on April 10 for a geophysical investigation, geological survey and biological sampling. Tasks in the first phase are expected to be completed on May 2.
After a brief reconditioning period in Shenzhen, the Ke Xue is scheduled for more research on hydrothermal activity.
Designed by the Marine Design and Research Institute of China, and built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Co, the Ke Xue has a gross tonnage of 4,711 and a range of 15,000 nautical miles. It is 99.8 meters long, 17.8 meters wide and 8.9 meters high.
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