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Drilling Under the Sea

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the down-here-all-the-fish-is-happy dept.

Science 174

prof_peabody writes "The IODP (Intergrated Ocean Drilling Program) is about to get rolling in a couple of days. If you live in one of these countries then your tax dollars have contributed to the construction of the giant drillship Chikyu, which was launched a little while back (project timeline). The American contigent website is loaded with info and obligatory acronyms. The first leg of the IODP will investigate how water flows through rock formations beneath the seafloor during an eight-week expedition this summer to the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of British Columbia. Some of you geeks with beards may remember the DSDP (Deep Sea Drilling Project) or the recently completed ODP (Ocean Drilling Program). The real advance in the new program that will cost well over a billion dollars is the IODP riser drill ship that 'will provide a way to drill into continental margins where oil and gas deposits can cause drilling safety concerns and into regions with thick sediment sections, fault zones, and unstable formations.' A good overview of the IODP can be found here, and the necessary references to Megalodon and none other than The Core."

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174 comments

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549167)

first post

i'm horny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549172)

suck my cock please!

Re:i'm horny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549178)

Linus, is that you?

-- Richard Stallman

Re:i'm horny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549429)

Yes Rich.

Same time and place as last night?

-- Linus

Taxpayers (-1, Flamebait)

feilkin (790260) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549180)

Wow, it's so awesome to know that my money is going towards a ship that can drill holes in the middle of nowhere.

Re:Taxpayers (-1, Flamebait)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549606)

I agree, this is a complete waste of taxpayers money. Why don't they use the money on something useful like a new jet or three for the president and a war or something.

Why would you say that?! (5, Funny)

P-Frank (788137) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549196)

Is it completely necessary to reference The Core? It makes me remember it all over again. My poor, feeble mind will implode if I even try to comprehend the physics behind that film, let alone the acting. Oh god, the acting...

Worst film ever (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549289)

But check out 'Hack the planet!'

Possibly the worst (or best?) casting as the pants sniffing dog-loving guy out of road trip as a hacker who hacks the planet.

I am just suprised that they didn't send a virus to the center of the earth to fix everything :-)

A guy has a laser that can cut through rock, in a blast of dust, but without causing huge flames.

When they hit the molten rock, how did they not just fall through it? gravity man, or do they float in molten rock?

aaaah whatever.

Re:Why would you say that?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549489)

When will nordics learn how to spell "integrated" and not "Intergrated"?

Well that means.... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549596)

My poor, feeble mind will implode if I even try to comprehend the physics behind that film

Your Kung-fu is not strong!

Re:Why would you say that?! (2, Funny)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549833)

I saw that film in German. You think the physics and bad acting are bad, see it in German.

Nothing says "this stinks and is a total waste of my godamn time" more than seeing any film, even B-grade trash, in German.

Diamonds? (4, Funny)

N4DMX (614024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549198)

What if there really are big diamonds like in The Core? It would be odd seeing a forklift wheeling out the back room of the jeweler's bearing a single engagement ring.

Re:Diamonds? (1, Funny)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549323)

Yeah, but what are odds she'd say no after see-ing a ring bigger than her? And the odds of NOT jumping off a very tall place if she did say no.

Mycroft

Re:Diamonds? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549441)

What are the odds of her not demanding that the groom fritter away his life-savings on useless knick-knack like diamond rings? :-)

(Honest, I'm not bitter, just ... puzzled.)

Re:Diamonds? (0)

oshy (674602) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549624)

If she didnt, dont worry. You'd be fighting them off with a shitty stick when you have rocks that big.

Re:Diamonds? (2, Funny)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549611)

What if there really are big diamonds like in The Core? It would be odd seeing a forklift wheeling out the back room of the jeweler's bearing a single engagement ring.

Sounds like Jo Lo's next wedding ring (after divorcing her current husband).

Spending... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549202)

So, does this finally count as the U.S. Government spending a decent chunk of change on education?

no more oil from the middle east. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549212)

If america wants to have greater freedom and security they should invest in offshoring drilling. If billions of american dollars doesn't go to the middle east then families like the bin ladens wouldn't have the billions for their son to exort them.

making a deal with the devil is bad. offshore drilling will allow america forgot about the middle east. osama doesn't like america because of their middle east polices and the fact that they are in the east. america can't pull out of the middle east because of the oil.

http://www.eternalconflict.co.uk/dave/

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549247)

*ignore parent* If america wants to have greater freedom and security they should invest in offshoring drilling. If billions of american dollars doesn't go to the middle east then families like the bin ladens wouldn't have the billions for their son to exort them. making a deal with the devil is bad. offshore drilling will allow america forgot about the middle east. osama doesn't like america because of their middle east polices and the fact that they are in the east. america can't pull out of the middle east because of the oil. oil is the blood that runs our world. i just want to get my point across that if we had no oil stuff that we enjoy like our computers and whatnot could not exist. my gosh if we americans were not depedent in the middle east all all most of our forieng troubles wouldn't exist. henry kissinger was right when he said we can't trust the arabs to control our source of oil. holy jesus we gotta do something. develop better ways to find oil in sea or find a new source of engery. hermion shrine [eternalconflict.co.uk]

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (1, Interesting)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549250)

The United States does plenty of offshore drilling, but the oil obtained is mostly kept for government stockpiles and military use. Citizens are free to make deals with the devil, while the government remains independent

Gulf of Mexico Offshore Drilling (4, Informative)

DaRat (678130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549385)

The US does do plenty of offshore drilling, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and, to a lesser extent, off of California. However, most of the oil doesn't go into government stockpiles or the military, but does go into general oil use: mostly gasoline, but also chemicals, heating oil, and plasticis).

Re:Gulf of Mexico Offshore Drilling (2, Interesting)

oilisgood (161130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550102)

Here [mms.gov] is a good link for information about the drilling in the Gulf Of Mexico (GOM). It comes from the MMS [mms.gov] which is the regulatory body that oversees drilling and production from federal waters in the United States. The pacific region has had all drilling suspended in the recent years if my memory serves me correctly. They do not say it on the website, but, the information in the pacific manager's message [mms.gov] is substantially less information packed than the GOM director's message.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (4, Insightful)

pdx_joe (690372) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549269)

It seems like fossil fuels are not the only answer. We can control nuclear energy but we can't make a non-fossil fuel car??? How is this possible? I may not know a lot about this subject but it seems like if we spent 1/10 the amount of money into research of this field as we do into looking for more oil, a non-fossils fuel alternative would have been found.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549314)

There is already an infrastructure to deliver oil to the customers. this infrastructure didn't pop up over night, it was developed over 50+ years. spending money in finding new ways to find oil and gas is cheaper then spending money to find a new alternative source of power and deliver it to the customer.

finding a new source of energy and creating the infrastructure to support the use of the energy should be a long term goal. for the short term we should spend money on deep drilling projects like this, government money, one.

my hermione shrine [eternalconflict.co.uk]

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549687)

Spending money in finding new ways to find oil and gas is cheaper then spending money to find a new alternative source of power and deliver it to the customer.

I think the problem is more of resistance from established industries to adopt new technology because they don't want to lose their source of revenue. Fuel cells have been around for a while, and I can recall some story about a (Japanese?) company coming up with a special tank for safely storing hydrogen for use with hydrogen-powered cars. I think it had something to do with aluminum somehow rendering the hydrogen non-volatile while in storage. I also saw a story on the news ages ago about a Japanese inventor who created an ultrasound washing machine that didn't need detergent, then read a rumor that he was bought out by chemical companies who saw this as a threat to their products. I know this is all conspiracy theory stuff, but it's not impossible.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (4, Interesting)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549851)

It's not impossible, but it's kind of unlikely.

The problem isn't that we can't get other kinds of energy to run a car, it's that the market demand isn't there. It really has nothing to do with the oil industry stopping us from using something different: I could, right now, use 100% vegetable oil-driven "diesel", and so on.

The fact is, getting millions of people to change their desires is the biggest hurdle.

In the meantime, the oil industry tries to keep up with the demand of the populace. If this undersea drilling rig can open up a new frontier, who knows what might be discovered alongside it.

It occurs to me that Shell and the gang all employ many environmental scientists, etc, to research all kinds of good stuff. This might provide one more avenue for research; always a good thing.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550412)

"I think the problem is more of resistance from established industries to adopt new technology because they don't want to lose their source of revenue."

The difference is, oil companies _know_ their source of revenue is going to run out. There is simply _not_ an infinite amount of oil under the ground. Therefore, it is entirely rational, and eminently sensible, for "big oil" to start branching out into other fuels.

In other words, protecting your revenue stream doesn't always mean crushing the competition - it also involves hedging your bets. And, obviously, hedging against oil running out is a VERY intelligent idea if you're an oil company.

-Erwos

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (5, Informative)

InternationalCow (681980) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549378)

You confuse fuel with energy source. The problem with alternative fuels is that you need energy to generate the most promising of those, ie hydrogen. So we would need solar, nuclear, wind or whatever power to get us the hydrogen. Fusion is not here yet. Non-fossil fuel is not trivial. Vegetable or other biomass fuels will also generate hydrocarbons. And I agree with you that as long as we keep looking for oil and keep getting it there will be little incentive for the big players (oil companies...) to go into renewable energy sources. So for the time being, unfortunately, we'll keep our dependence upon the middle east. By the way - oil is not only fuel. Plastics and so on are also made from it. That may even be the worst dependence. Imagine a world without plastics. If only for that reason we'll keep using oil for at least a couple of decades.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (1)

mentaldrano (674767) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549804)

While I agree with your main point, I must mention the fact that biomass fuels do not generate hydrocarbons. The growth of biomass removes carbon from the atmosphere, and burning biomass releases that carbon. Biomass is a zero sum fuel; it does not release sequestered carbon (unless you are fertilizing it with fossil fuel).

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549382)

The problem with electric cars, if that's what you have in mind, is: batteries. Think of your laptop. You may well, have Moore's Law in full swing for the CPU, but that hasn't applied to batteries too. They're big, they're bulky and they can store only so much juice.

That's the problem. We may control nuclear energy, and we may already build very good electric engines, but _storing_ that energy for the car to use is the weakest link. By far. As energy-per-lbs goes, nothing comes even _near_ chemical stuff that burns. Gasoline packs more joules per kg than any battery. (And gunpowder packs even more, which is why soldiers still use that, instead of railguns with a battery pack.)

However, it's still not all lost. If you have another energy supply, you can make enough stuff that will burn in a car's conventional engine.

E.g., a real no-brainer is using the electricity generated by a nuclear plant to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be then burned in a relatively conventional internal combustion engine, taking the oxygen back from the atmosphere and giving water vapour back.

Other ways exist to combine that hydrogen with carbon from coal (of which there are far more reserves than oil), creating synthetic liquid fuel. You don't even need a nuclear plant for that.

(A lot of the panzer warfare in WW2 happened on synthetic fuel. It wasn't that cheap, but it kept the panzers rolling.)

Or in some limited cases you can just replace the fossil fuel use with electricity. E.g., see how we replaced the coal and diesel train engines with electric ones. Electric busses and trams exist already, and could eventually replace the diesel ones if the economics are right. Also, if the investment were justified, one could build a power grid along highways to support at least electric trucks.

Ultimately, though, everything boils down to economics. As long as it's cheaper to bring in oil from the middle east, than to brew local synthetic fuels, people will bring oil from the middle east. As long as it's cheaper to fill up your tank with gas coming from the middle east, than to get an expensive hydrogen powered car and hydrogen, people will continue importing oil from the middle east. And as long as electric cars will continue to be expensive _and_ have a 50 mile range, after which they need several hours to recharge (as opposed to minutes to fill a fuel tank), people will buy conventional cars.

When the economics will be right, however, expect to see someone coming with such replacements. The whole civilization collapsing into anarchy and famine as soon as we pumped the last barrel of oil out, makes a good Hollywood scenario, but ain't gonna happen in RL. More realistically we'll then start producing synthetic fuel in the short run, and pumping billions into R&D for better solutions, and life will go on. It won't be as cheap as it is today, but it ain't gonna be Armageddon either.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (4, Insightful)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549583)

Ultimately, though, everything boils down to economics.

Which is why it is important that what people pay for their energy should reflect the real costs of that energy. Pollution should be cleaned up, and the costs should be part of the cost of the fuel. I don't care whether that happens by some government program or by private companies, but the problem now is that everything does boil down to economics, but the consumers don't pay the whole cost of what they consume.

Boils down to selfishness (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549707)

It doesn't boil down to economics. It boils down to selfishness. By definition, it cannot be more efficient to invest in destroying non-renewable resources than to invest in techniques for harnessing renewable ones. The difference is that people get a 'quick fix' or an 'emergency loan' of sorts from fossil fuels, for which they don't have to pay, since they'll be dead, and it'll be someone else's problem.

Re:Boils down to selfishness (0)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549734)

You're right, and if I hadn't posted here already, I'd mod you "Insightful". But, to some extent, that _is_ economics and capitalism.

Can it be cheaper to plunder non-renewable resources? Well, actually it is. In the short time anyway.

Can it be cheaper in the long run? Actually, as you noted it boils down to taking a loan. Sometimes it's better to take a loan to get a factory started, than to wait 200 years for the perfect technology to arrive.

And, well, it actually already was more efficient. If we hadn't started with coal engines and then gas engines, and just waited for the perfect technology, we'd probably still be in the late middle ages.

Re:Boils down to selfishness (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550232)

To clarify it some more: a lot (if not most) of human progress was made on loans. Loans of resources from the colonies. Loans of, yes, polution. (The industrial revolution was not a pretty sight. Dumping black smoke into the atmosphere and poison into rivers was the norm.) Loans of free space to build houses and farms on. (E.g., USA's expansion to the west.) Etc.

Heck, you could argue that the very invention of the human state and the start of civilization was made on a loan. In Messopotamia "inventing" the state was possible because a few people controlled the water supply for irigations, giving them an unprecedented power over others. However, it was a loan. They destroyed even the little fertility of those lands in the process, and eventually even irigation didn't work that well any more. Basically it was a loan of fertility.

The advanced civilization of the ancient Egyptians was also built upon a loan: a loan of time. Being shielded from both sides by the desert saved them from needing a too large military to defend themselves. With the invention of the war charriot, however, that changed. They were no longer safe from the outside world, and they got conquered. Later it also meant that the outside world was no longer safe by them. (They learned very fast how to build their own chariots.)

Etc.

So basically I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with loans. If we all had waited for the perfect technology to appear, and hadn't accepted the loan from the devil in the guise of a less perfect technology, we'd still live in caves and wear stylish leopard skin loinclothes. Even the state would have never appeared, because the Messopotamians would still be waiting for the perfect agricultural technology instead of starting irrigating.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549757)

"And gunpowder packs even more, which is why soldiers still use that"

I thought it was all cordite nowadays.

the US wastes huge amounts of electricity (3, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549854)

Every night, electrical demand goes down, but the plants keep running. That electricty is just wasted. It is a HUGE number of megawatts. Some places will even give you a rate decrease if you buy your juice only at night, yet very few homeowners or businesses take advantage of the fact. One factory I worked at had their new building built with a thermal storage scheme for heating that used pipes embedded in the concrete floors. An antifreeze liquid was circulated while it was heated with the cheaper electric at night, it heated the concrete, which radiated heat evenly up through the floor during the day. This was up in massacussetts with cold winters, and it worked great.

Electrical cars would be cheaper if they were only/mostly recharged at night, and you had a smart meter or a separate meter for the charging. We could also have battery storage in more homes and businesses, like the alternative energy rigs use now, for use during the day. Just by using thisa wasted night time juice we could eliminate the need for a lot of the new plants proposed, and by switchiung to electric cars more, eliminate the need for getting additional petroleum products.

The government could also offer tax breaks to corporations and individuals for running a third shift at night as a standard instead of a normal first shift, just to take advantage of the wasted energy. Combined with the cheaper energy they could get then, it would be quite a deal in a lot of ways. If it was significant enough taxc breaks combined with cheaper utility costs, then a lot of businesses would switch, and it would become commonplace to have the third shift as normal.

And for longer range trips with electric cars, say on the weekends you want to go asomeplace camping whatever, or on vacation, etc, the solution is simple, you have small trailers that attach to the cars that contain a normal fuel tank and a generator. The trailers could be 1/2 normal cargo, 1/2 generator and fuel tank. The range of electrics now is fine for getting to work and back for millions of people, there's just not a lot of electrics to be had. The GM EV1 cars (more 100 miles range not 50) were a hit, the owners loved them, but GM only leased them and is destroying them now, despite thousands of owners begging to purchase them. By all accounts, what I have read and heard people say, they were roomy enough, fast enough, both from a stop and on the highway, could carry enough stuff, and were a no brainer maintenance-wise. They were cheap to run, and night time reduced rate charging would have cut those expenses in half, which were good to begin with. Heck, I live out in the country and an electric car with a 100 mile range would be good enough for our purposes, we only go to town once a week, and 100 miles is more than enough to get there and back, plus some. The battery tech is good enough now, I think that's a strawman argument. It's not a solution for every single application you use a vehicle for, but for millions and millions of people it could be, just with two pieces of legislation passed,mandated cheaper electric bought only at night-not a local electrico option but they are mandated to do so, and the tax breaks for night time business in general to help reduce peak daytime demand loads. And one other piece of legilsation would be very useful to save another untold billions a year in energy costs, no new construction that didn't adhere to R-50 or better insulation standards.

We don't have near as much an energy problem as most people think, we have a problem with how we use what we already have, and how much gets totally wasted. I've worked on superinsulated residential structures and seen the difference-absolutely no comparison with normal construction. Literally drops the homes major heating and cooling bills to like a fifth what they would be normally. And really, solar and wind are here now and work, they just aren't being pushed much. I've used it enough to know it's practical for a lot of people, generally speaking.

There isn't one single magic bullet, but enough solutions exist today to mitigate a lot of our energy needs using what is available NOW, not have to develop vast new infrastructure with totally new devices and processes.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (4, Insightful)

SnakeStu (60546) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549294)

...america can't pull out of the middle east because of the oil...

To quote my latest blog entry [blogspot.com], "three of the top five importers are on the American continents." Poorly worded, in retrospect, since it should say "sources of imported oil" rather than "importers" but it's the data -- which you seem "less than familiar with" -- that is of interest.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549352)

As a canadian i like to watch canadian TV. in the canadian TV they talk a lot about kyoto protocol. Alberta the biggest producer of oil in the country is 100% against kyoto because it will hurt their industry. problem is that a lot of people from the two bigger provinces, ontario and quebec, want to support kyto. if kyto pass federal government will make oil in canada not as competive as oil from other parts in the world.

anyways, if you didn't remember, i did, 2002 gas prices were so damn expensive that i couldn't afford to drive to work. i had to ride my bike :(.
opec, Saudi Arabia, that year decided to decrease output of oil and thanks to them i lost 50 pounds.

more data [doe.gov]
you should check that out. it says the top oil producer was for 2003 saudia arabia at 9.95 million barrels a day.

i also got a blog and i did some research about some of the reasons why america would want to go to war with iraq [blog] [eternalconflict.co.uk]

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549537)

i also got a blog

I read some of it. Your sick.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (1)

drc500free (472728) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550542)

yeah, and the libertarians are one of the top three political parties in America.

Not going to happen (2, Interesting)

philbert26 (705644) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549678)

If america wants to have greater freedom and security they should invest in offshoring drilling. If billions of american dollars doesn't go to the middle east then families like the bin ladens wouldn't have the billions for their son to exort them.

That doesn't seem to be the case. This article on Slate [msn.com] argues that we are unlikely to achieve "energy independence" from the Middle East, and even if we do, OPEC will have plenty of new custom from China and other emerging economies.

Re:no more oil from the middle east. (0, Troll)

chadm1967 (144897) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549887)

WRONG!

If Americans want greater freedom, we need to start looking at alternative fuel sources. We don't need to hurt the environment any more than we already have. If we develop alternative fuel sources, we can then stay out of the middle east.

Greybeard menories (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549214)

Hey, I'm so old I even remember Project Mohole.

Re:Greybeard menories (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549394)

Wasn't that an urban porno flick? Project Mo' Hole or something...

ob simpsons quote (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549222)

Under the sea
Under the sea
There'll be no accusations
Just friendly crustaceans
Under the sea!

Why the core? (5, Informative)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549226)

"and the necessary references to Megalodon and none other than The Core."
I would have thought the The Abyss [imdb.com] would have been a much better reference than The Core. Certainly better science, and for that matter better science fiction.

Re:Why the core? (2, Interesting)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549452)

Yes, the Abyss was a better movie...but even that had problems.

1. In real life, wouldn't you really think that it was a russian or other type of sub down there? The one Seal said it's probably a Russian sub and everyone jumps all over him "you're crazy! Obviously it's from outer-space! you're insane!". Well, I'm not suffering from HPNS up here on land and even I wouldn't think of something more down-to-Earth.

2. The part where the water tentacle is interacting with the characters, mimicing what they're doing. So when Lindsey poked her finger into the forehead of the tentacle, shouldn't it also have poked a finger into the her forehead also? Just a thought...

3. At that depth and pressure, I thought a mixture of helium and oxygen was more the norm...though I don't remember the science behind it. But I guess they didn't want everyone talking like Mickey Mouse, though it may have been more entertaining.

4. With Bud using the liquid breathing contraption, wouldn't he still implode going that deep? I mean, the liquid inside the suit is still at a pressure...so wouldn't you still have to equalize the pressure the deeper you go? How would that be done, taking in seawater? Also, aren't there pockets of air running through the body other than the lungs...wouldn't even one be subject to all that pressure? AND if he equalized at the pressure of 3 miles down, wouldnt he have to decompress on the way back up?

Anyway, just nitpicking...still far and away better than that joke of a movie "The Core"

Re:Why the core? (3, Informative)

HFXPro (581079) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549547)

At that depth and pressure, I thought a mixture of helium and oxygen was more the norm...though I don't remember the science behind it. But I guess they didn't want everyone talking like Mickey Mouse, though it may have been more entertaining.

You would not have to use helium just because it is deep. A normal sealevel atmospheric composition will work fine, and provided your hull is tough enough, you could leave it at 1 atmosphere. Of course this would pose to problems:

1. Having to make the hull really strong since their is no counterbalance; or

2. if the structure is pressurized to better match that of the surrounding seawater (thus letting you get buy with a more fragile hull), then any sudden drop in the air pressure would likely result in nitrogren bubbling in the blood (the bends).

HeliOx mixtures are most often used because they allow more rapid rises to and from the deep and because they are safer. A normal atmospheric composition would require someone to most likely spend days just rising from say 1,000 feet safely. The ocean is fundamentally a much harder place to explore safely then is space.

Re:Why the core? (1)

oshy (674602) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549620)

"...wouldnt he have to decompress on the way back up?" The lifeforms that brought everyone back to the surface did it all without needing to decompress anyone. They just "fixed" it all.

Re:Why the core? (1)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549667)

Yeah, I know that happened, but they didn't know that when he went down there. They were all hoping he'd go down there, unarm the bomb and then get back...it wasn't until after he unarmed the bomb did they realize there wasn't enough oxygen for him to get back.

What I'm wondering is how would he have gotten back anyway, even if he did have enough to just drop his weights and float up...wouldn't he have to decompress, or would there be less nitrogen in his bloodstream from the oxygenated fluid?

Ok, just realized...who cares? It's just a sci-fi movie. hehe

Re:Why the core? (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549822)

Plus he (the character) said (or rather typed) that he knew it would be a one way trip. Of course it is Science Fiction (or probably more appropriately science fantasy) and movie physics != reality in approaching 100% of the time.

Re:Why the core? (1)

oshy (674602) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550082)

Yup. I think it was just his wife that didn't know it was one way.
He didnt even bother to warn other would be 'falling down a big hole after a bomb' people that you cant see colours with a green light stick.
Selfish sod.

Liquid isn't compressible. (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549677)

On the last point, a liquid isn't compressible in itself. The pressure as such is due to the large quantity of water around. The way this works is that if you take a litre of sea-water from ten metres down in a cosed container to the surface, it doesn't expand when it is opened. If you take a litre of gas at the surrounding water pressure from 10 metres down (as, for example, from SCUBA gear), it will double in volume at the surface.

What this means is that if you can replace all gas inside your body with liquid then you would have no problems. If you could somehow replace all that and assuming you have already purged dissolved gases from your blood (you have been breathing helium), then you would have no problems. OTOH, like you say, it would be difficult to get rid of all gases.

Re:Liquid isn't compressible. (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549811)

My first engineering job out of college was at a water-jet company. I can tell you from experience while water isn't very compressible it most certainly is compressible. I don't remember where the transition is but I can safely say that water at 60-100k psi does not behave the way you would think water would. (oh and it is compressed at those pressures). All that aside however I understand your point. teh delta between a gas's compression and a liquid's compression at terrestrial pressures is well astronomical :)

Re:Liquid isn't compressible. (4, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549835)

On the last point, a liquid isn't compressible in itself.

Of course it is. If you hold the temperature and salinity constant, then the density of seawater increases with the depth due to progressively higher pressures as you go deeper - you can see that quite clearly by playing with this seawater density calculator [flinders.edu.au] (try 15 degrees and a salinity of 35, then increase the pressure from 1 to 1000 to 10,000 kPa, and watch what happens to the density).

Greater density means more seawater per unit of volume as you go deeper, which you can do because liquids are, in fact, readily compressible, albeit not as compressible as gases are. Bringing water up from a depth of 10 meters simply isn't deep enough to observe the effect you want to observe. Bring water up from 10,000 meters, say from the bottom of the Marianas trench, and you will indeed observe it expanding quite forcefully when you open its container - if you don't have a container that can withstand the internal pressure of that water trying to expand, it'll go pop as you try to bring it back up.

Re:Liquid isn't compressible. (3, Interesting)

hughk (248126) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550117)

Good point, but if liquids were as compressible as a gas, then hydraulics woudn't work so well!

The air-pressure/liquid pressure differential wouldn't have been that great. Please remember that the abode has a moon-pool. It is only the extra pressure as the diver goes down the trench to warn the aliens that counts.

Last thing is that the diver is not using sea-water. I seem to remember it is some kind of perfluoro-carbon. Certainly it has been used for premature-babies with success, but more pertinently for animals to simulate deep dives (to 1000 metres from sea-level and back). The ascent was much faster than normal but there were no signs of decompression sickness. The mouse did die later for other reasons which is why nobody is diving with it now.

I believe the word is "integrated" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549240)

not intergrated.

Thank you.

Geeks... with beards? (0, Offtopic)

Anhaedra (760705) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549277)

I do not believe I am familiar with these beard-wearing varients...

Re:Geeks... with beards? (-1, Offtopic)

Polkyb (732262) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549309)

Surely you remember the Kernel Dev tools Icon from the RedHat 7 graphical installer?

Hot water vents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549283)

How do we not know these vents contribute to increase the temperatures in our oceans?

if i'm not mistaken the center of the earth is pretty hot and we only explored like less then 10% of our total oceans?

david suzuki says global warming is melting the ice caps. could he be wrong, could the ice really be melting because of these hot vents?

visit my hermion shrine [eternalconflict.co.uk]

Why drilling from a ship ? (5, Interesting)

vi (editor) (791442) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549291)

Why isn't a robotic drilling submarine used ? It could operate in any depths and the drilling operation wouldn't depend on local weather condition.

Answer, logistics, and power (5, Informative)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549455)

A quick Google will show you just how big all the equipment involved in drilling really is, and just how much power is required to support drilling operations - a hint, it's in the megawatt range. You are not doing it with batteries. Ships like this have huge deck-mounted powerplant independant of the propulsion requirements to cope with demand.

There's simply not enough space to store the necessary equipment on board, esp. when you consider the need for bentonite coolant circulation etc. Assembling the drill string either through or outside the hull would be an interesting problem, as would the bouyancy/stability control as you dump a few hundred tons of payload overboard.

So a nice idea, but much more economical done from a big surface ship - even when it means waiting on the weather.

You're asking a question in the wrong era... (1)

ianscot (591483) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549844)

That's the exact question that should have been asked about the Glomar Explorer. [the-kgb.com]

The Russian sub they built the Explorer to salvage wasn't a particularly interesting design -- it was a "Golf" class, nothing new -- and we could have gotten basically all the worthwhile intelligence from the wreck by going in through the hull and retrieving the cipher equipment. Instead the CIA built a massive white elephant of a drilling ship, with a cover story about oil drilling, to pull up the entire sub. (It didn't work -- the sub broke on the way up.)

The popular book "Blind Man's Bluff" derides this as one of the CIA's most colossal sinkholes for money. It quotes a handful of deep sea salvage experts to the effect that there wasn't any point in even trying to perform the full salvage. (Not the best-edited book, but it's a pretty good telling of Cold War-era sub espionage.)

Vaguely Ontopic (0, Offtopic)

Enlarge Your Penis (781779) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549297)

How many calories a day would a Megalodon have needed, and where would it have obtained them? A predator that size seems hugely inefficient

Re:Vaguely Ontopic (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549432)

According to this site on metabolism and aquatic animals [washington.edu] a moderately active blue shark needs to consume .2 to .6% of its body mass in food per day. Larger animals tend to be more efficient in regards to metaboloism (with regards to sharks anyways) but lets assume the figure holds true. Also allow us to assume that this link on shark fossil identification [sdnhm.org] is correct in its statements of the megalodon's size (up to 25 metric tons) so it would need to consume a whopping 50 to 150 pounds of food a day. given the size of its potential prey (other pages say sperm whale sized animals so call them 80,000 pounds) I don;t think the megalodon would have to eat very often to survive. Of course this is all completely conjecture based on insomnia and a reasonable set of google searches.

More info on the Chikyu here (3, Informative)

seaker (141236) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549306)

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/jamstec-e/odinfo/sdsrepor t.html

Corrected URL (3, Informative)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549331)

here [jamstec.go.jp] Curious, /. keeps putting a space between the r and t in report.. i.e. repor t.html

Thank you (-1, Troll)

John_Renne (176151) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549311)

Me being a dutchman I can only be happy with this. It has been known for ages the dutch can drill tunnels, build bridges and banks like no other nation can.

It's hard to believe anyone would pay us for drilling some place usefull for nobody but if we profit from it economically I guess I should cheer

Yes, but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549365)

are you a flying dutchman?

Re:Thank you (4, Interesting)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549375)

Me being a Dutchman 2, I can honoustly say you're giving 'us' too much credit. Pretty much the only thing the dutch have an unique knowledge of is the battle vs. the sea. Most parts of Holland are about 16 metres under sea level, which can cause a mighty flood (like the one in 1953) if the country is not protected well enough.

The 'stormvloedkering' (dutch name of huge project to protect holland from the water) is still considered to be any incredible piece of technology/engineering even tody, even though it was build in the late 50's.

Tunnels & bridges however are more scrares in the Netherlands and I cannot imagine that we have a big advantage over countries like Norway, Canada and maybe the US that have build huge structures of that kind.
One of the most inspiring phrases from the time Holland struggled with the sea is: 'Luctor et Emergo' [epinions.com] (Ik worstel en kom boven / I struggle and emerge)

Re:Thank you (-1, Troll)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549414)

One of the most inspiring phrases from the time Holland struggled with the sea is: 'Luctor et Emergo' (Ik worstel en kom boven / I struggle and emerge)

Which sounds good, but wouldn't it have been smarter to just stay out of the pool?

The Dutch are just Germany-rejects, kicked into the swamp 2000 years ago.

Re:Thank you (1)

Anhaedra (760705) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549422)

The "stormvloedkering" you mentioned, isn't it like a massive gate in the ocean? I think I have heard of it...

Re:Thank you (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549471)

The "stormvloedkering" you mentioned, isn't it like a massive gate in the ocean?

That's right. It's also a big tourist attraction. I live in the south of Holland and for a project that I did for my company for 3 months I passed by there everyday, it's always a wonderful and impressive sight.

Re:Thank you (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549769)

Don't do yourselves down. The "cloggies" seem to have a very large interest in salvage of large marine structures. When some major ship goes down, it is more often than not that a Dutch company is called to go fishing.

Re:Thank you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549692)

But can you drill your mom like I can?

Ooh goody! (2, Interesting)

wa5ter (628478) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549372)

I think it's great that we do all this drilling and practicing with submarines. After all if we're drilling up even more oil, we'd better get used to the under sea life.

Re:Ooh goody! (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549477)

I think it's great that we do all this drilling and practicing with submarines. After all if we're drilling up even more oil, we'd better get used to the under sea life.

You are correct, but it is certainly a very strange point to make for someone whos username is 'waster' ...

Nigerian Ships (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549401)

Here in Nigeria (!) we are developing deep space mining ships and your money will help us continue our secret space mining program...

Cthulhu Fhtagn! (3, Funny)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549449)

Finally, a ship they can use to seek out and disturb R'lyeh...

Re:Cthulhu Fhtagn! (2, Funny)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549551)

Finally, a ship they can use to seek out and disturb R'lyeh...

Wouldn't that be a positive change in leadership?

As a bonus, consider what will happen when the RIAA/MPAA sends lobbiests to plead for a new restrictive law? No more lobbiests and the bill isn't passed.

I'm really not seeing a downside.

Chikyu is Japanese for... (5, Informative)

B4RSK (626870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549513)

Chikyu (should be Chikyuu actually) is Japanese for Earth, as in the planet we live on.

Just in case anyone is curious.

Re:Chikyu is Japanese for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549578)

Whoa whoa whoa! Wait, hold on. Earth... planet... live on? Please explain this PHd-requiring concept some more. I just don't get it, and worse, I don't think I ever will.

when all else fails, do the preschool spell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549645)

in--tuhh--grai--tehd.

Sausage! (1)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 9 years ago | (#9549752)

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/2 8/0046201&mode=thread&tid=134&tid=141&tid= 188

Its not about oil (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9549787)

So far most of the posts here have been referring to oil. While oil is commonly drilled for, it is not the only reason one would explore the sediment and rock under the seafloor.

most notably, paleoclimate and paleocirculation studies use various proxies found the sediments of the seafloor. The oceans provide a much more continuous record than one can find on land. these proxies can be correlated with other methods and other locations. From these records everything from sea surface temperature to icecap volumes can be modeled.

no no no no no (1, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550019)

Why?! Why?! Why?!

Why must we deplete more of the Earth's precious resources like this? Look, we know we're going to run out of oil sooner or later. That's a certainty. Why don't we just accept that now and get working on the alternatives, so we're actually ready for the day when the oil does run out?

The first phase should be to develop a "drop-in" replacement for petroleum fuels, manufactured from plants and waste products, and usable in existing engines with little to no alteration. The priority would be for public transport and emergency vehicles first, then private delivery vehicles, then private cars. Once such fuels are produced in sufficient quantities, petroleum exploration can be discontinued altogether, and we can add a statement to our foreign policy that we will not lend our support to any attempt on the part of a petroleum-consuming nation to wage war, if it is believed that the primary object of that war is to secure further supplies of petroleum.

The next phase will be to develop, in synergy, a range of fuels and engines which sacrifice backward-compatibility for greater efficiency. We then stop making the petroleum-compatible engines, and just produce enough "old skool" fuels to run all remaining petroleum-compatible engines into the ground.

All this can best be done under the framework of a nationalised industry (therefore no petty bickering, IP disputes, anti-competitive practices &c. as are so common in the private sector. All publicly-funded research would be licenced on a non-discriminatory basis so that private companies could enter a competitive market when the technology became established). We should pay for the replacement of petroleum by means of a tax on the use of petroleum -- and non-fossil fuels must be conspicuously exempt from such tax.

Re:no no no no no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9550151)

Thank you Mr. Stalin.

It's great to run your own world without caring about whether or not other poeple agree with your premises, conclusions, and solutions.

You don't accomplish things by telling people they are wrong.

Re:no no no no no (1, Troll)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550272)

At least have the courtesy to indicate which bits you disagree with. Assuming, of course, and contrary to what you have indicated by posting anonymously, you aren't just being a mindless troll. Otherwise you stand a good chance of being ignored.
You don't accomplish things by telling people they are wrong.
Being a numerical majority -- or even labouring under the impression that you are one -- does not make you right. When almost everyone believed the Sun revolved around the Earth, did it? The indisputable fact is that one day there will be no more oil left in the ground. Do you dispute that something needs to be done about that?

Re:no no no no no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9550441)

That's a rhetorical question, right? I mean, tell me you're not a retard and can figure the answer out for yourself.

What's the percentage in researching alternative fuel sources? It's much more profitable to collect and burn fossil fuels. I'm not saying it's a good thing(tm), but it's reality.

Peak Oil is near (4, Informative)

per11 (650595) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550043)

This is just another indicator that oil production is beginning to decline. To keep up with the growing market demand from increased population, developing countries, etc., oil companies are looking into new and dangerous ways to get the remaining oil on earth. For more information, Google "peak oil."

great... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9550456)

...let's go ahead and f***-up the oceans, BEFORE we understand them....just like the way we did the rest of our Earth.

dollars? (0, Flamebait)

kipple (244681) | more than 9 years ago | (#9550528)

so good I live in Europe where we have Euro and not dollars, so I don't have to spend my tax dollars for that.
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