Mariana Trench, the deepest known part of the world’s oceans has a maximum depth of 10,994 meters (36,000 feet). China has been working on deep water sound communication technologies for quite a while now. They recently made a major breakthrough when the team of scientists were able to hear sound from the deepest part of the oceans! “Chinese scientists have, for the first time ever, heard sound from the deepest part of ocean,” a report from China said.
It is only the second time ever that an acoustic experiment has been tried out in the Mariana Trench. This experiment from China took them about a year to prepare for. The scientists wanted to observe this to understand how sound is transmitted in the deep sea. Considering that no light reaches the depth of Mariana Trench, sea creatures who live there have to rely only on sound for communication.
Interestingly, another aspect of this acoustic research could be in military applications! A research fellow from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore pointed out. The research fellow Koh Swee Lean pointed out that: “Civilian research projects can feed into military uses, like in this case, understanding acoustic characteristics in the trench can promote deep-sea acoustic research, helping scientists refine sonar technology, which will aid in honing one’s anti-submarine and underwater warfare capabilities.”
The Chinese team that went to the Trench have left six acoustic sensors in the depth of the sea bed from where they would record all the ambient noise. These sensors would be retrieved in November 2018.
China has made a number of missions to the Mariana Trench in the past. China has been a leading name when it comes to deep sea research projects. In fact, the Chinese government has given quite an importance to these projects in their five year plan in 2016 which goes all the way to 2020. It would be interesting to see what the sensors left by China pick up!