China breaks national record for Mariana Trench manned dive

China has broken its record for the deepest manned dive into the world’s oceans, sinking an estimated 10,909 metres (35,790 feet) into the Mariana Trench, state-run news agency Xinhua said.

The submersible landed on the seabed at the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench on Earth.

The dive beat China’s previous dive into the Mariana Trench by over 800 metres (2,624 feet).

Ye Cong, the chief designer of the submersible, told Chinese state-run media that the seabed was abundant with resources.

High-tech diving equipment can help us better draw a ‘treasure map’ of the deep sea, Ye said in an interview quoted by Xinhua.

According to CNN Travel, rare earths, which are essential for the production of high-tech products such as smartphones, missile systems and radar, are currently controlled in a major part by China.

Beijing is working hard to ensure it retains its dominance in this area. In July, the Chinese government raised its quota for rare earth mining to a record high, as high as 140,000 tonnes (140 million kilograms).

According to the state-owned China Daily newspaper, Chinese businesses have been investing in rare earth companies in Greenland as economic opportunities emerge in the Arctic region.

The crew were expected to work for six hours in data collection and actual exploration when the vessel reached the deepest spot, says CGTN.

That spot, known as the Challenger Deep, is roughly 10,900 metres deep. The water pressure is 110 kPa, equivalent to 2,000 African elephants.

The cabin shell uses titanium, a perfect material with low density and high strength that allows the submersible not only to bear water pressure at 10,000 meters, but also to reduce self-mass and expand interior space.

Powered by a lithium battery, the Striver can unload the equipment onboard and pick up samples from the surrounding environment with its flexible robotic arms. The arms can operate at an accuracy of one centimetre, the research team said.

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