• The influence of James Cameron, the Canadian-American filmmaker, whose cinema has frequently explored the mysteries of the deep ocean, looms large on scientists at the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Chennai.
  • Ananda Ramadass asks this correspondent. The documentary charts Mr. Cameron’s solitary, 10,000-metre journey down the Marianna Trench — the deepest point in earth’s seabed — in 2012 aboard the Deep Sea Challenger, a submersible. “It is incredible,
  • Ramadass and his colleagues aspire to capture some of the aura of the ocean depths when India’s indigenous submersible, MATSYA-6000, plunges into the bowels of the Indian Ocean, with a three-person crew onboard.
  • At 6,000 metres, this will be shallower than Mr. Cameron’s excursion but the deepest dive yet by Indians.
  • If India’s mission — expected to take place in late 2024 or in 2025 — were to be successful, it would make it only one among six countries to have piloted a manned under-sea expedition beyond 5,000 metres.
  • Much like the early days of India’s space programme, which prioritised public utility over Cold War spurred space races, India’s motivations are guided by pragmatism – explore the potential for precious metals and scope marine biodiversity.
  • “India’s seabed and the relevant zones with economic potential aren’t deeper than 6,000 metres. Our technology and vehicles are designed and developed for our needs.
  • Samudrayaan, or the journey into the sea, and NIOT mission can be conceptualised as the reverse of the forthcoming Gaganyaan mission — The Indian Space Research Organisation’s attempt at a manned mission into space.


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