X

China Wants People to Live Underwater in South China Sea

Planning mysterious lab, perhaps with military capabilities
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2016 10:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – China's No. 2 science and technology priority out of a recently released list of 100 would take its countrymen almost 2 miles beneath the surface of the South China Sea. Bloomberg reports on China's intention to build a manned deep-sea platform from which it could hunt for minerals, an idea in the works for a decade and now given accelerated priority, according to a Science Ministry presentation Bloomberg viewed. Concrete details are scarce—no blueprints, no word on cost, for instance—but the thinking is that a dozen or so crew members could stay inside the movable platform for up to a month at a time. It would "be mainly for civil use, but we can’t rule out it will carry some military functions," says a government researcher.

story continues below

So is it doable? A senior fellow at a think tank specializing in US defense policy thinks so. While a "long-term inhabited station has not been attempted this deep ... manned submersibles have gone to those depths for almost 50 years. The challenge is operating it for months at a time." Tensions over the South China Sea are high, with China claiming more than 80% of waters, despite similar claims from other countries. An underwater station controlled by China isn't likely to ease the situation. Among the other goals in China's latest Five-Year Plan, per Shanghaiist: floating nuclear power plants, which could ostensibly power the platform. (Read more South China Sea stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X