A manned Chinese submarine has reached its greatest depth ever in a deep-sea dive.
China’s State Oceanic Administration said that the Jiaolong submarine, 8.2 meters long, weighing 22 tons and carrying a three-man crew, reached a depth of 5,057 meters (about 16,500 feet) Tuesday morning, spending over six hours underwater.
"At a depth of 5,000 meters, the Jiaolong withstood great pressure amounting to 5,000 tonnes per square meter," Wang Fei, the head of the diving operation, told the state-controlled news agency Xinhua.
Fei noted that at such depth, the sub would be able to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s sea bed.
However, the Jiaolong seeks to go even deeper. It plans on making a 7,000-meter dive next year.
According to reports, the Jiaolong can “move back and forth easily under the sea” and boasts a “state-of-the-art” communication system and high-definition video equipment.
The Japanese sub Shinkai 6500 has a depth range of 6,500 meters (21,325 feet) and has been the gold standard of the manned research vehicle in the world today.
Russia's Mir and France's Nautile have a depth range of 6,000 meters, while the U.S.' Alvin sub has a range of 4,500 meters.
Exploration of the deep sea may be crucial to exploiting mineral resources and it appears China is leading the change in such underwater enterprises.