Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Science & Technology: Drilling Hopes to Reach Earth's Mantle by 2020

Scientists Plan To Drill Beneath The Earth's Crust For The First Time (IFL Science)

We have never, ever drilled into the mantle that lies just beneath Earth’s crust. This month, however, scientists are hoping to set the wheels in motion to change all that.

Right now a drilling ship called the JOIDES Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) is on its way to the Atlantis Bank on the South West Indian Ridge of the Indian Ocean. Here, the ship will attempt to drill 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) into Earth’s crust in a campaign known as the Slow Spreading Ridge Moho project, or SloMo.

The mission, co-led by Professor Chris Macleod from Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom, and Henry Dick from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, USA, is just the precursor to a much more grandiose task, though. In the 2020s, the team plans to use another drilling ship – the Chikyu – to become the first to ever break into Earth’s mantle.