6 km below: Coming soon, India’s own crawler to walk the ocean floor

M. Ramesh | | Updated on: Aug 01, 2019

India is set to launch what could be called a ‘Samudrayaan’, a manned submersible vehicle capable of crawling on tracks on the ocean bed at depths of 6 km.

An important part of the vehicle, under the Deep Sea Mission, is a ‘human module’ that can house three people for 72 hours.

Deep sea tech

“The strategically important venture will empower the nation in the field of deep ocean research,” said G Ananda Ramadass, Head of Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, which is developing the vehicle.

While the ‘Samudrayaan’ (not yet an official name) is under development, NIOT already has an operation-ready unmanned vehicle with robotic arms. This vehicle is built for depths of 6,000 metres and has been tested up to 890 m. Research bodies such as NIOT and the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, have several programmes dealing with study and exploitation of deep seas.

Now, the government is weaving all these programmes and putting them on mission mode.

The Deep Ocean Mission is expected to be launched on October 31. The ₹8,000-crore mission was announced recently in New Delhi by M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The objective of the mission is to boost India’s deep sea exploration capabilities.

Published on August 02, 2019

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