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1st November 2023 (10 Topics)

Inside India’s ‘Deep Ocean Mission’(DOM) , a challenge harder than going to space

Context

Samudrayaan’ will be India’s crewed expedition to a depth of 6,000 m in the central Indian Ocean.

About the mission –

  • DOM is one of nine missions under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PMSTIAC).
  • DOM supports the blue-economy priority area, blue trade, and blue manufacturing in India.
  • The mission has six pillars:
  • Development of technologies for deep-sea mining and a manned submersible to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean.
  • Development of ocean climate change advisory services, involving an array of ocean observations and models to understand and provide future climate projections;
  • Technological innovations for the exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity;
  • Deep-ocean survey and exploration aimed at identifying potential sites of multi-metal hydrothermal sulphides mineralisation along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges;
  • Harnessing energy and freshwater from the ocean; and
  • Establishing an advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology, as a hub for nurturing talent and driving new opportunities in ocean biology and blue biotechnology.

Samudrayan

  • With ‘Samudrayaan’, India is embarking on a ground-breaking crewed expedition to reach a depth of 6,000 m to the ocean bed in the central Indian Ocean.
  • This historic journey will be accomplished by Matsya6000, a deep-ocean submersible designed to accommodate a crew of three members.
  • Equipped with a suite of scientific sensors and tools, Matsya6000 boasts an operational endurance of 12 hours, which is extendable to 96 hours in the event of an emergency.

Minning of polymetallic nodules

  • The Ministry is also working on an integrated system to mine polymetallic nodules of precious minerals from the central Indian Ocean bed.
  • The minerals we can mine from the ocean bed in the central Indian Ocean region, allocated to us by the United Nations International Seabed Authority (ISA), include copper, manganese, nickel, and cobalt.
  • NIOT (National Institute of Ocean Technology) has successfully conducted deep-sea locomotion trials on the seabed at a depth of 5,270 m using our underwater mining system, ‘Varaha’. This milestone is a step towards future exploration and harvesting of deep-sea resources.

Matsya6000

  • The Matsya6000 is India's leading deep-ocean human submersible.
    • Aiming to explore the ocean bed at an impressive depth of 6,000 meters. Manned by three crew members, known as "aquanauts,"
    • This vessel is equipped with a range of scientific tools for observations, sample collection, and experiments.
  • It's set to join countries like the S.A., Russia, China, France, and Japan, which have achieved successful deep-ocean crewed missions, showcasing India's capability in this arena.
  • The primary focus of Matsya6000 is exploration, offering the capacity for deep-sea observations despite its limited sub-sea endurance.
  • Its design allows for free-floating movement, functioning untethered, with unique features for six-directional movement using propellers and viewing ports providing real-time observations.
  • Constructed from a strong titanium alloy, the human sphere within the submersible is designed to withstand high pressures of up to 6,000 bar, offering a safe environment for crew members with oxygen supply and carbon dioxide scrubbing.
  • The interior includes a range of advanced equipment such as cameras, lights powered by lithium polymer batteries, and navigation systems for communication and positioning during its underwater missions.
  • The submersible operates at a speed of about 5.5 km/hr, utilizing underwater thrusters for efficient movement, and is a significant step for India in demonstrating deep-ocean exploration capabilities alongside other leading nations.
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