Tuesday, April 06, 2010

World's Deepest Drill Hopes to hit Mantle Soon

the Chikyu research vessel already holds the record for deepest hole drilled, at 23,000 feet below the seabed, two to four times that of any other drill. But far from sitting on its' laurels, Chikyu wants to add another mile to that depth, bringing it to the Earth's mantle for the first time in history.

As the PopSci article puts it:
  • In 2007, off the coast of Japan, it became the first mission to study subduction zones, the area between tectonic plates that is the birthplace of many earthquakes. Over the next three years, scientists will tack on at least an extra mile of drill and attempt the most ambitious mission ever: piercing the Earth’s mantle.
  • For deeper ground penetration, where temperatures can exceed 500°F and corrosive chemicals reside, engineers will use a higher-tensile-strength steel to build the drill string. Also in development are new drilling (synthetic) mud that cool the drill bit during operation.
PopSci via Gizmodo

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