The Earth's mantle still lies untouched; Japanese scientists want to be the first to penetrate it!

The researchers plan to extend the drill 2.5 miles below the ocean’s surface, then bore through 3.7 miles of Earth’s crust and finally gather samples from the mantle.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017, 20:01 PM IST
The Earth's mantle still lies untouched; Japanese scientists want to be the first to penetrate it!

New Delhi: Japan's space achievements have been enough to put the country on the list of pioneers where space discoveries are concerned.

However, the race to become the best in what one does is perpetually on the go and Japan doesn't seem like one to give up.

One may feel that scientists know and have revealed almost everything there is to know about the Earth. Wrong! The Earth may be one out of nine planets, but there is still so much hidden about its existence that scientists are putting in every effprt to catch up.

Well, scientists from Japan have revealed their plans to be the first ones to to successfully drill into the Earth's mantle, the planet's vast molten-rock interior, which lies just beneath the outer crust.

By going through with this, researchers at Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) are hoping to discover more about the Earth's formation and what makes up the mantle. Japanese media first reported on the project earlier this week.

The mantle makes up more than 80% of the entire Earth's mass, lying six miles (10 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor.

Previous attempts of reaching the Earth’s mantle goes back more than 50 years. During the period, scientists have never managed to drill past the crust. Most recently, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling attempted the ambitious task but only made it around 700 meters deep.

CNN reports that the researchers say that they will use the Chikyū drilling ship to accomplish their goal. The ship has the capability of drilling three times deeper than vessels that have previously tried and failed to dig through Earth’s crust.

The researchers plan to extend the drill 2.5 miles below the ocean’s surface, then bore through 3.7 miles of Earth’s crust and finally gather samples from the mantle.

"We don't know the exact (composition) of the mantle yet. We have only seen some mantle materials -- the rock is very beautiful, it's kind of a yellowish green," researcher Natsue Abe, who works for JAMSTEC, said, as per CNN.

The Japanese government, which is helping fund the expedition, hopes the research could help discover ways to better predict earthquakes, Abe said.

"In Japan we have some volcanoes, earthquakes and such kind of natural hazards. People (want to create) some monitoring or analysis equipment but we don't know ... what kind of factor to use," Abe said.

"So we need to know the natural system more clearly or precisely ... we have to observe the earth more precisely," CNN reported.