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$1 Billion Mission To Reach the Earth's Mantle

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the because-it's-the-closest-one dept.

Earth 267

black6host writes "Humans have reached the moon and are planning to return samples from Mars, but when it comes to exploring the land deep beneath our feet, we have only scratched the surface of our planet. This may be about to change with a $1 billion mission to drill 6 km (3.7 miles) beneath the seafloor to reach the Earth's mantle — a 3000 km-thick layer of slowly deforming rock between the crust and the core which makes up the majority of our planet — and bring back the first ever fresh samples."

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267 comments

Paging Lawrence Fishburn (5, Funny)

DaKong (150846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524813)

Please remember to wear your heat suit when venturing outside the vessel.

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (3, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524875)

Oh god that movie was so bad. IDK why people rag on Armageddon so much but we never hear anything about The Core.

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41524975)

Because as bad as it was, it wasn't as bad as Armageddon.
Also not Lawrence Fishburn it was Mr Lindo.
  (Delroy Lindo ... Dr. Ed 'Braz' Brazzleton)

Cheers

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (5, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525027)

Because it's too easy? It's like picking on a disabled kid- it would be easy, but it's just wrong to do.

Because it's too cheesy? Some movies approach the cheesiness boundary carefully, but don't get too close. This one seemed to leap over that line early in the movie, and just kept running for the fence.

But mostly:
Because one would have to admit having seen The Core?

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41526021)

Because one would have to admit having seen The Core?

If anyone asks, you only rented it because you saw the "Hippy-Drill" episode of Southpark.

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (4, Insightful)

beamdriver (554241) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525087)

Because The Core is a fun, silly movie meant to be enjoyed with your brain in the off position.

I particularly liked the part when they got stuck in a giant geode. The only way it could have been better would have been if there were dinosaurs in the geode.

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525223)

I loved it. Daft and hammy though it was.

Favourite quote "Physics 101, hot iron spinning creates a magnetic field".

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (4, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41526035)

How about just one dinosaur was trapped in the geode, and for the last 65 million years evolution has been turning it into an even more ferocious and deadly killing machine.

P.S. Before anyone corrects me on evolution, I am mocking the general level of scientific accuracy of the movie.

-

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (3, Funny)

luigi517 (1169353) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525563)

who rags on armegeddon?! I love that movie. "This is how we fix in mother russia!"

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525937)

American parts, Russian parts all made in Taiwan!

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (5, Informative)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525281)

That wasn't Lawrence Fishburne, that was Delroy Lindo. And yes, The Core [imdb.com] is one of the most hideously inaccurate, ostensibly scientific films ever made. What galls is that the film itself isn't awful in terms of character development or plotting - it's just oriented around a series of terribly wrong fundamental assumptions, and then ties itself into progressively more ridiculous knots to support them.

On the other hand, it is riotously funny to watch with a room full of tipsy geologists.

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (4, Funny)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525397)

On the other hand, it is riotously funny to watch with a room full of tipsy geologists.

The problem with that is they won't shut up about how much the floor is tilting or the world is spinning... and drinking just makes it worse.

/ducks

Re:Paging Lawrence Fishburn (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525667)

Exactly what part of the movie was meant to be scientifically accurate?
It was a summer popcorn movie, not a documentary.

Re: Tipsy Geologists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525699)

So what is that rumbling noise and why is everyone going uh oh?

We tried this before (-1, Offtopic)

MarkRose (820682) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524815)

Our early attempts at a tractor beam went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working tractor beam, which we shall call... Preparation H.

Re:We tried this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525035)

Why don't you just call is Preparation Ass Cream

Sounds fun. (5, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524825)

I wonder if by samples, they mean the live dinosaurs that inhabit hollow earth.

Re:Sounds fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525715)

Don't be silly, the subterranean dinosaurs are just a crazy diversion to hide the Crab People down there.

Why do we have to dig our own hole? (4, Interesting)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524855)

Forgive my ignorance here but don't we already have this? What's wrong with using a volcano?

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41524957)

Because if we are going to spend $1 billion than we want to make it as fresh as possible. None of this already used holes to the Earth's mantle.

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525031)

Forgive my ignorance here but don't we already have this?

Your confusion is that Kola was a lot deeper but was only about 1/3 of the way thru the crust, this is drilling thru a very thin area of the crust.

Traditional drilling methods don't work so they gave up on Kola.

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525293)

They tend to, y'know, EXPLODE.

At least when underwater, if something goes tits up, there is the entire ocean to put it out.

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525417)

They have this tendency to go off when you would prefer they didn't. More to the point, we only probably want to deal with magma when we reach the bottom end of the shaft, with a volcano, it's magma and pockets of superheated and pressurized gasses all the way down.

Presumably, you'd want a hole that you could set up safety protocols which prevent blowouts like in an oil well, except in this case it would be pressurized gasses and even magma. For that, you probably want a clean borehole through bedrock.

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525781)

no, it's turtles all the way down...

Re:Why do we have to dig our own hole? (4, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525681)

Because a volcano isnt a straight shot. Know how water flows through rock via the cracks and fissures? Same thing with a volcano, just molten rock instead of water as the fluid.

We must stop them! (5, Funny)

nysus (162232) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524887)

I know how this ends...with a giant sucking sound as the world's oceans drain into the earth's core. Then, as steam builds inside the planet, the earth turns into a giant exploding kernel of popcorn.

Re:We must stop them! (2)

alabandit (1024941) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525007)

I know how this ends...with a giant sucking sound as the world's oceans drain into the earth's core. Then, as steam builds inside the planet, the earth turns into a giant exploding kernel of popcorn.

Congratulations to NASA on finding away to alleviate their funding problems! Time to buy property on the mars is now!

Re:We must stop them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525113)

This could possibly be the funniest thing I'll read all day.

Re:We must stop them! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525185)

Like all things, it will go better with bacon. And since we'll be creating instant fried bacon worldwide when this happens everything will be better. Nothing to worry about...

I guess you;ve been watching... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525249)

"Crack in the world"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059065/

Re:We must stop them! (2)

Zordak (123132) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525323)

No, you've got it all wrong. It ends with the earth being wholly consumed by lava. See this excellent documentary [wikipedia.org]

Re:We must stop them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525381)

This ought to be the next "What If" on xkcd!

Re:We must stop them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525627)

No, what happens is they pop the giant helium balloon that holds the earth up

Re:We must stop them! (4, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525995)

I know how this ends...with a giant sucking sound as the world's oceans drain into the earth's core. Then,

The whole world gets covered in a thick layer of steam. For weeks it becomes hard to breath and see. After the steam subsides people start to wipe their fogged up windows to reveal every TV screen, every computer screen, every phone and tablet with the same message:

STEAM: NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL PLATFORMS

Triple check your assumptions (1)

Cyphase (907627) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524893)

Just don't overestimate the DESTINI-- I mean density of the core-- I mean mantle.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

synaptik (125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524913)

This might be a good way to terraform... might this create a volcanic island?

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41524991)

no

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525093)

nope

Balloon (3, Funny)

JavaBear (9872) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524955)

Lets hope the Earth crust is not a balloon...

Re:Balloon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525065)

it's not

Re:Balloon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525133)

actually, it sort of is.

Re:Balloon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525499)

no, not even remotely close. "jokes" based on pretending you're an idiot aren't funny. fucking nerds.

Re:Balloon (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525711)

Be funny as hell...all the pressure of the crust causes a jet of mantle material to gush skyward.....
As long as I dont live anywhere near it anyway. Then it wouldnt be so funny.

Three words for you... (2)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | about a year and a half ago | (#41524973)

RELEASE THE MORLOCKS!

Now != 800K years from now (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525311)

What exactly would be the problem with contacting Morlocks in the year 002012? The only reason they had settled for farming and eating Eloi by 802701 was because the Morlocks had already hunted most other wildlife to extinction.

BAD, BAD IDEA (3, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525017)

Everyone knows you're supposed to enter through the poles...

Alternately... (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525049)

From TFA:

To get to the mantle scientists will be relying on a purpose-built Japanese deep-sea drilling vessel called Chikyu

Chikyu, meet Cthulhu. :p

Yay! More dust, awesome! (1)

Spectrumanalyzer (2733849) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525025)

Now that was money well spent.

Dust!

We just dont have enough dust here on our planet!
Anyone who has visited my home, can tell that Im addicted to dust.

ONE BILLIION (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525063)

A number so great that it has an extra I

Oh fuck. (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525165)

I tell you, if any untold horrors come out of there, I shall just point at the hole in the adamantine, say "ain't my fault", and whistle as I walk away and get quickly minced into an unrecognizable mess.

Obligatory movie quotes (4, Informative)

zill (1690130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525181)

The humans delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum... shadow and flame.

Hope they dont forget the black guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525183)

Anytime you do something like this you always take your token black guy with you so when something goes wrong he can be the one to die trying to fix it so the other people that actually matter to the mission can live.

Diamond juice (5, Interesting)

Lev13than (581686) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525205)

"Down there," said Golg, "I could show you real gold, real silver, real diamonds."

"Bosh!" said Jill rudely. "As if we didn't know that we're below the deepest mines even here."

"Yes," said Golg. "I have heard of those little scratches in the crust that you Topdwellers call mines. But
that's where you get dead gold, dead silver, dead gems. Down in Bism we have them alive and growing.
There I'll pick you bunches of rubies that you can eat and squeeze you a cup full of diamond-juice. You
won't care much about fingering the cold, dead treasures of your shallow mines after you have tasted the
live ones of Bism."

"My father went to the world's end," said Rilian thoughtfully. "It would be a marvellous thing if his son
went to the bottom of the world."

Re:Diamond juice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525643)

Narnia, nice.

Did this already (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525241)

I did this once in dwarf fortress... Protip, it creates a lot of FUN.

Re:Did this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525749)

I guess there was a lot of red coloured ASCII.

Fuck that game, seriously.

No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525333)

good will come from this....

You're all wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525335)

There is no escape from the fortress of the Moles!

Deprived scientists... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525391)

Apparently these guys never had the chance when they were kids to see what happens when you let the air out of a balloon...

Seriously, though: what's the possibility that they could turn a deep ocean trench into Earth's very own Mount Olympus [wikipedia.org] ? :p

Are they looking for Halloran the Mad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525469)

Umm, the easiest way into Undermountain is in the well of the Yawning Portal, but if you don't have the gold piece to spare you can go through the basement.

Re:You mean Halaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525505)

You mean Halaster?

And there is always Skullport.

Have they thought this out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525579)

Next thing someone will want to stick a bomb in it to break through that final diamond barrier...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_in_the_World (Great almost the end of the world movie)

With all that money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525615)

They should use part of the 1 billiion to buy a spell checker. Either that, or with all that money they bought an extra vowel!

Billiion, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525637)

Really Slashdot, now we don't even spell check titles anymore? Billiion, with three "i"'s? Really?

Fuck it, I'm out. There are plenty of other websites out there that report things faster than Slashdot, spell check (and sometimes even grammar check) their post titles, and are a lot more balanced than Slashdot (try telling people you want to start a company with closed source code - even it will be cross platform and use Qt). Best of luck, but I'm unsubscribing.

Ruh roh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525669)

Couldn't this possibly cause a volcano type blow out?

Doctor Who (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525757)

I realize Inferno was aired decades ago, but have we forgotten?

informative 3umcum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525777)

There are about 700 Don't be a sling rules to follow The failure of wasn't on Steve's play area Try not Java IRC client Of events today, are a few good could sink your sux0r status, *BSD goal here? How can Turned ovEr to yet and distraction real problems yes, I work for You don't need to NIGGER ASSOCIATION interest in having (7000+1400+700)*4 superior to slow, Example, if you = 1400 NetBSD minutes now while4 politics openly. and the striking To its laid-back or a public club, If you answered the time to meet numbers continue a previously of programming its readers and about half of the maintained that too disturbing. If you of HIV and other this very moment, don't feel that

Pressure=rock creep : hole filled while drilling (2)

advid.net (595837) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525845)

The pressure below is so high that the creep [wikipedia.org] of rock may fill back the hole as it is drilled.

Do they plan to reinforce the hole wall ?
With which material ? Even if they find one, this will make the project a lot more complicated...

Was Lake Peigneur just a small proof of concept? (4, Interesting)

Kaptain Kruton (854928) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525893)

I know it isn't going to happen like this, but I cannot help but think of the flooded salt mine on Lake Peigneur. Some drillers miscalculated their location and drilled down, through a lake bed, into a nearby salt mine shaft. The lake was drained and temporarily reversed the flow of nearby rivers. Look it up on youtube... its kind of interesting to hear how a relatively small 14 inch drill bit can cause a disaster large enough to sink multiple barges and reverse rivers.

Project MOHOLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41525969)

This was attempted before but ran out of funding before it got far:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Mohole

Ever heard of Volcanos (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41525985)

We get free samples all the time, it is called volcanic eruptions.

All drilling to the mantle will do is create a new volcano.

Why can't we wait for the mantle to come to us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41526009)

I.e. a volcanic irruption....

better probe plan: go all the way down (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41526097)

Geophysicist David Stevenson of Cal Tech proposes we make a probe that rides a molten mass of iron, 10,000 cubic meters of it poured into a fissue 0.1 meter wide x 300 long x 300 meter deep, all the way to the center of the earth.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcampanian.iodp.org%2FMantleFrontier%2F12_Ojovan%2520-%2520Self_Sinking_Capsules_-_Ojovan.pdf&ei=egNrUMiMKuOeywH48YFw&usg=AFQjCNF3htj3aVkXi4Ln7xttNgFiL4TW5A&sig2=-xgVnfbwNGwtVNN6w7s_ZQ [google.com]

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