China’s “Underwater Space Station” to be 10,000 Feet Deep

space station

China is working to create a massive subsurface sea lab thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, aiming to hunt for minerals in the South China Sea and presumably to cement their claim to the disputed region.

The project is one of the country’s top scientific priorities, according to the Chinese government, and would be a world first – while submarines can go as deep as the planned station, no manned outpost has been constructed and maintained at such depths to date.

space station gif

“The deep sea contains treasures that remain undiscovered and undeveloped, and in order to obtain these treasures we have to control key technologies in getting into the deep sea, discovering the deep sea, and developing the deep sea,” President Xi said last month at a national science conference.

Some reports indicate that the project would be mobile, and others have theorized that it could be a strategic part of the ‘Underwater Great Wall Project” designed to detect US and Russian submarines. The government says it will be for civil use, but will not rule out military functions.

(FILES) This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012 shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of Hainan province.  China has deployed surface-to-air missiles on the disputed island in the South China Sea, Taiwan said on February 17, 2016, as Beijing insisted it had a right to build "self-defence" systems in the strategic region.  Taiwan's defence ministry confirmed the existence of the facility after Fox News reported that missile launchers had arrived on Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain, in the past week.           CHINA OUT      AFP PHOTO / FILES / AFP / STR

Spearheading the planning for the deep-sea station is the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, according to a statement on the website of the science ministry. Once operational, it would host dozens of crew members who could remain underwater for up to a month, the ministry’s presentation separately said.

Planning has been under way for a decade and is central to China’s push to become a global technology superpower by 2030. Completing it would help China close a deep sea exploration gap with the U.S., Japan, France and Russia on underwater technology.

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See more in Futuristic or under Technology. September, 2016.