Just a few months back, India got 75,000 square kilometers in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) allotted to it by UN International Sea Bed Authority.
It has been called out that even a meagre 10% of trapping out of this large reserve can drive the energy demand of India (that is constantly rising) for the next 100 years to come.
And hence looked forward to its Deep Ocean Mission so that it can effectively utilize the resources lying unspent on ocean floor, with an outlay of ₹4,077 crore for next 5 years.
India has efficiently worked over Chandrayaan, successfully launched Mangalyan, is working for Gaganyaan. So, the leadership thought, why not Samudrayan?
One of its main motives was to develop a manned submersible that can carry 3 people to 6000 meters deep in the heart of ocean guided and controlled with a suit of scientific sensors and tools.
Samudrayan: Exploring the Ocean Depths
India has brought to life its first manned ocean mission and has joined only six other nations capable of reaching the ocean floors for studies and research.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh exclaimed: “Launched India’s First Manned Ocean Mission #Samudrayan at #Chennai. India joins elite club of select nations USA, Russia, Japan, France & China having such underwater vehicles.”
He also cruised in Sagar Nidhi from Chennai port, interacted with scientists and discussed in depth regarding several upcoming Sea projects.
“A new chapter opens to explore ocean resources for drinking water, clean energy & blue economy.”
The country, though blessed with abundant coastline, find the relationship with its coastline a bit neglected. India struggling with its population constant and its troubled past, has long been embroiled in its economical, political and socio-cultural aspects.
The coasts and its allied communities thus, too needed a way out.
Through this project, India will be once again displaying its capability with unconventional and advanced infrastructures such as a high thickness welding facility, deep ocean simulator etc.
As per the press-release: “System design, concept of operation, subcomponents functionality and integrity, emergency rescue, failure mode analysis are reviewed and certified as per the rules of International Association of Classification and Certification Society for man-rated usage of manned submersible at a depth of 6000 metres”.
This project has been undertaken by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and the vehicle has been named Matsya 6000, made of titanium alloy in a 2.1-metre diameter enclosed space.
Along with research, prospection and exploration of Poly-metallic nodules, hydro thermal sulphides etc., the vehicle will help carry the devices, sensors for deep sea experiments or observations in the presence of a fellow human.
NIOT has developed a ‘personnel sphere’ composed of mild steel procured from a local industry for an operational capability of 500 metres.
This has been ascertained as per the International Classification and Certification Agency’s guidelines for any manned operation.
It will be designed to stay in deep waters for nearly 12 hours and the maximum it can endure in case of emergency will be additional 96 hours.
Able to tread waters easily at a depth range between 1000 to 5500 metres, it will be ready for its prerequisite trials by December 2024, even though its shallow water (500 metres) phase will be achieved by the end of 2022 or 2023.
Will the vehicle be able to maneuver if there is a possible danger?
At deep ocean or sea floor, the vehicle will have a six-degree freedom to maneuver that will be powered using a battery-based propulsion system for 4 hours.
“Basically, this vehicle is a platform to carry any devices, sensors etc. to deep-sea for doing experiments/observations in the presence of a human being”.
Samudrayan in times of unprecedented Climate change:
According to data given by the government of India, the sea missions will help understand the unnoticed changes at sea floor and therefore, mitigate the crisis of climate change.
Sending humans to space have solved big-time queries for us, its now time for deep Sea floor that hold millions of secrets.
But it is also to acknowledge that such infrastructure sent to the sea floor may lead to several ecological tragedies like habitat destruction, obstruction to basic functioning of fragile marine organisms, noise pollution etc.
We need to remember and understand that sustainability matters at all costs. We have just one Earth and humans have skillfully exploited land for their benefit.
We see the result mow. Let’s hope, our sea endeavors are sustainable enough to benefit humans and not degrade the dark world.