A mega-drill will go where no machine has gone before: into Earth's mantle
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.05.2005 at 2:00 am 2 Comments
Traveling to the center of the Earth is a fanciful concept, but consider the reality: We have so far drilled just 7.5 miles into the Earth's rocky crust, leaving roughly 3,962 more miles to go. The new Japanese research vessel Chikyu won't exactly breach Earth's core, but it will drill to an unprecedented depth, beginning in late 2007 when it embarks on its first scientific mission off the southwestern coast of Japan.
The 57,500-ton rig is equipped with a 5.9-mile-long drill designed to blast four miles into Earth's crust and strike the semi-molten mantle that lies beneath it.