BEIJING, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Chinese scientists say they plan to build a new manned submersible to dive as deep as 15,000 feet for scientific research on a majority of the Earth's seabeds.
China's current submersible, the Jiaolong, has dived successfully to a depth of 23,000 feet, putting China on par with the world's most advanced countries in the deep-sea submersible field, Hu Zhen with China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. said.
Hu is in charge of the technology development of the country's submersible program under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Hu and his colleagues will undertake studies on developing a second deep-sea diving vehicle for the country's ongoing seabed research, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.
The new submersible will have a number of new features not found on the older Jiaolong, including three crew seats and five windows for observing the seabed from different angles.
It will be easier and more comfortable for the crew to operate and is expected to be able to patrol most seabeds, including those in the South China Sea, Hu said.