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Chinese scientists sink to the bottom of the Indian Ocean

A Chinese scientific expedition with the Jiaolong deep-sea inhabited bathyscaphe set off for the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean. Specialists are going to study the biological diversity of the seabed and the genetic resources of hydrothermal microorganisms.

The research vessel "Xiangyanghong-09" left the city of Jiangyin, Jiangsu province (Eastern China). During the expedition, scientists plan to complete the tasks of the second and third stages of experimental operation of the bathyscaphe for the period 2014-2015, the Xinhua news agency reports.

According to Yu Hongjun, head of the State Base for Deep-Sea Marine Research, the first stage of experimental use of the apparatus took place from June to August in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. The second and third phases will last four months, with Jiaolong expected to return to port in March 2015.

During the expedition, the bathyscaphe will make 20 dives. Experts expect to study the resources of polymetallic sulphides, biodiversity, the process of life and genetic resources of hydrothermal microorganisms on the seabed. The research is conducted as part of an agreement between China and the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

Yu Hongjun said that this time a record number of scientists - 13 people - took part in the flight (the number of developers of the apparatus on board was reduced).

In June 2012, Jiaolong set a national record by submerging 7062 meters in the Mariana Trench. This provided China with the opportunity to conduct scientific research and resource exploration at 99,8% of the depths of the World Ocean.

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