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Journey Towards The Center of the Earth

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the verne-would-have-been-proud dept.

Science 185

linumax wrote to mention an article detailing an ambitious Japanese-led voyage towards the center of the earth. From the article: "The deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu made a port call Thursday in Yokohama after ending its first training mission at sea since being built in July at a cost of 500 million dollars. The 57,500-ton Chikyu, which means the Earth in Japanese, is scheduled to embark in September 2007 on a voyage to collect the first samples of the Earth's mantle in human history. The project, led by Japan and the United States with the participation of China and the European Union, seeks clues on primitive organisms that were the forerunners of life and on the tectonic plates that shake the planet's foundations" They also hope to use the information to detect earthquakes more accurately. A 4 page PDF presentation about the Chikyu deep-sea drilling vessel is also available."

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185 comments

Obscure Reference? (4, Funny)

RDFozz (73761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276839)

Gee, better be on the lookout for green slime and primords....

Re:Obscure Reference? (1)

lostboy2 (194153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277003)

better be on the lookout for green slime and primords....

or Lord Kinbote!

Re:Obscure Reference Nabokov and X-files (-1, Offtopic)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277265)

I recognized the X-files reference, but googled to confirm it and found: Lord Kinbote is a reference to Nabokov's Pale Fire, specifically the character, Charles Kinbote. http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/sf/pop/PrimerJo seChung.html [purdue.edu] Obscure reference upon obscure reference. Very Geeky.

Re:Obscure Reference? (1)

kalpol (714519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277102)

Inferno? pertwee?

Re:Obscure Reference? (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277256)

I have a bigger issue with the idea that the earth is attempting to drill to the center of the earth. Wouldn't the earth already BE in the center of the earth?

On the other hand, I don't suppose it would be that hard to get to the middle of the earth, I mean, it's just a few thousand tons... just pull up the blueprints and find the center of the middle deck, and head on over there.

Re:Obscure Reference? (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277292)

Yes. Don't you see? By the logic you have just demonstrated the engineers behind this project know that even if it fails they can still claim success!

Even more obscure reference (3, Funny)

Zordak (123132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277419)

Perhaps they'd better check with the Brigadier and ask him what happened when he tried.

Best. Science Fiction. Ever.

Did they detect this one? (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276849)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280 ,-5484820,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

Friday December 16, 2005 8:16 PM

TOKYO (AP) - An undersea earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 shook northern Japan early Saturday, but there was no danger of a tsunami, the Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

The quake occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. and was centered about 30 miles below the seabed off the coast of Miyagi prefecture, about 180 miles northeast of Tokyo, the agency said.

Sounds like they just got the idea from a movie (2, Funny)

agentofchange (640684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276887)

Oh they did - The Core: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298814/ [imdb.com] [imdb.com]

Re:Sounds like they just got the idea from a movie (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277412)

Hey, didn't they detonate like, 6-10 nukes in the center of the Earth?

Gee, I sure hope they didn't take the ENTIRE idea from the movie...

[imdb.com] [imdb.com] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277784)

You don't need to type it yourself, the system does it for you...

Re:Did they detect this one? (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277030)

Naw they probably perpetrated it

Small fix. (2, Funny)

falzer (224563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276890)

From the PDF:

> The proposed program OD21 will evolve into, in close collaboration with the current ODP and international partners, a new international program, named as the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), which will use the "CHIKYU" and a U.S. drilling vessel.

Small fix: micro-evolve. No transitional "international program" between Ocean Drilling Programs has ever been found.

Re:Small fix. (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277294)

Indeed. As everyone knows, all the records of international cooperation have been fabricated to mislead us. And because there is only 3 OD programs, it is obvious that OD21 cannot exist. All of this is proof that the Ocean Drilling Program is the result of intelligent planning.

- Chairman of the Kansas School Board.

Re:Small fix. (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277467)

Evolve? come on, we all know that this will prove once and fort all that the earth is only 6000 years old.

That drill bit better ... (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276908)

be made from unobtainium like that movie, what was it called, "restart the core spinning." No that wasn't it. Fuck. Oh yeah, "Core" that's it. right?

BTW once that bit hits magma that is spining at a different rate from the platform, it will shear.

Re:That drill bit better ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14276957)

BTW once that bit hits magma that is spining at a different rate from the platform, it will shear.

Because, as we all know, the mantle is spinning at a high RPM, thus acting as a gyroscope, providing stability to the earth.

Re:That drill bit better ... (5, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276988)

BTW once that bit hits magma that is spining at a different rate from the platform, it will shear.
You really need to brush up on your Hollywood Physics.

In The Core they're using a laser drill known as the "Virgil"

It uses LASER beams to soften up the material ahead of the drill bit. So I imagine that if they went from material of one density to another, the drill bit wouldn't really care.

You know, a lot of very smart people put large amounts of effort into working out a believable framework for these movies.

Geez, everyone's a critic

Re:That drill bit better ... (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277051)

My bad. I'm sure the enegineers or at least the bond company stooge has this all worked out. Well maybe not the stooge.

"Different rate" = 1 revolution/100 million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277260)

Given that the Hawaiian hot spot in the mantle hasn't moved much if at all as the Pacific plate has moved over it, creating the Hawaiian islands and the Emperor seamount chain over the past 70+ million years, I think it's safe to conclude that the mantle is rotating at pretty much the same rate as the the rest of the earth, for all pratical purposes.

In short, the drill bit ain't gonna shear off because the mantle and crust spin at different rates.

Bush cronies jumping on the bandwagon (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14276933)

They say that the Actic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska would be a perfect place to drill through to the mantle, since oil offers so little resistance and simultaniously lubricates the bit. And what harm will come if a bunch of it happens to flow up to the surface by accident?

Re:Bush cronies jumping on the bandwagon (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277347)

Close. They're going to dig in the ocean, since water's easier to dig through than earth.

ANWR oil is a stop-gap measure at best... (0, Offtopic)

guygee (453727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277374)

Let's break down your mythology. Even if we started today, ANWR production would probably take 10 years to come to peak production of about 1 M barrels/day. Current U.S. consumption is 20 M barrels/day, projected to rise to above 25 M barrels/day before 2020. Total estimated reserves in ANWR vary wildly, but it is most certainly much more expensive to extract than most OPEC sources. For example, from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/oil/anwar.html [www.cbc.ca]

"The companies that want to get at that oil estimate there's 16 billion barrels waiting to be pumped south - or about 30 years worth of Middle East oil imports. U.S. government geologists have estimated a likely reserve of perhaps 10.4 billion barrels in the 700,000-hectare coastal plain region at the northern end of the ANWR. That's the only part of the refuge where the U.S. government has considered lifting the ban on development.

But it would be economically feasible to pump out only a fraction of that reserve. A 1998 study estimated that about 1.9 billion barrels could be recovered at a price of $24 per barrel. Environmentalists and other opponents of opening the area to oil exploration argue there's no way to know how much oil is there.

The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests there may be enough oil to fuel vehicles in the United States for six months. It argues that making vehicles more fuel-efficient will save far more oil than Alaska could ever produce."

Compare this to current Saudi oil production costs of $1-$2/barrel

Just do the math. The economically extractable oil would only last about five year before depletion, at the peak production rate, supplying only a small fraction of our needs.

Re:ANWR oil is a stop-gap measure at best... (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277408)

That is what they want you to believe.. .... There is no mantle, its all oil. Oil. the whole world is filled with Oil. Billions and Trillians of gallons. Like a massive M&M but oil.

Re:ANWR oil is a stop-gap measure at best... (2, Funny)

guygee (453727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277424)

I guess that explains why oil just came bubblin' up when Jed Clampett missed the critter and shot his rifle into the ground...

My Bad... (2, Funny)

guygee (453727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277437)

Humor is such a fragile little butterfly, grasp at it too hard and it is a sticky mess - but still colorful!

I'm glad ... (2, Funny)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276963)

That the japanese have decided to put team Zissuo on this. The Belefonte was the perfect choice for a drilling platform. Hopefully no harm will come to the recon dolphins.

The Atheist Agenda (5, Funny)

FatAssBastard (530195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276968)

The project...seeks clues on primitive organisms that were the forerunners of life...

Neo-Darwinist heathens! There is only ONE "forerunner" of life on this planet, and that's GOD!

Re:The Atheist Agenda (5, Informative)

dcapel (913969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277128)

What do you mean God?

It was the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you insensitive clod!

Re:The Atheist Agenda (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277570)

Has Slashdot taken it too far when the GP post is marked Funny, but a post about the Flying Spaghetti Monster is marked Informative?

Just a thought.

Re:The Atheist Agenda (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277137)

Heretic! How dare you believe the humans' religion? You defame the Prophets and the Forerunners. The Great Journey will be achieved!

Re:The Atheist Agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277266)

The project, led by Japan and the United States with the participation of China and the European Union, seeks clues on primitive organisms that were the forerunners of life and on the tectonic plates that shake the planet's foundations.
Scientists, being so very sensible and logic - minded, are seeking living things that predate living things.

forerunner (fôrrnr, fr-)
n.
1.
a. One that precedes, as in time; a predecessor.
b. An ancestor; a forebear.
2.
a. One that comes before and indicates the approach of another; a harbinger.
b. A warning sign or symptom.
3. Sports One who skis the course before the beginning of a race.

organism (ôrg-nzm)
n.
1. An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.
2. A system regarded as analogous in its structure or functions to a living body: the social organism.

Re:The Atheist Agenda (1)

FatAssBastard (530195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277338)

Scientists, being so very sensible and logic - minded, are seeking living things that predate living things.

Mmmm...pretty sure it was the "journalist" who phrased it that way, not the "scientists". If you read the referenced .pdf, it simply says, "...search for signs of life in the earth's crust...".

Nice try, though!

Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (5, Funny)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276973)

I probably would not have run down this rabbit trail expcept for recent news that hints that the world's tallest building may have activated an old fault line.

Ever see a pop can with a small hole in it? I mean, do they really have a clue what might happen if they provide a channel for deep magma flows to rise? Sure, it's a little sci-fi doomsday scenario, but I'd hate to be the one who signed off on the risk assessment for this project.

Scientist 1: Hey, Jimmie, remember that movie we saw when we were kids? The one where they go to the center of the earth?

Scientist 2: Sure, why'dya ask?

Scientist 1: I got this reasearch grant and I thought we could drill down to see if those giant mushrooms were real.

Scientest 2: Sure, I'm in.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277009)

LOL. Lets see, physics .... yeah sum of the forces thing. Potential energy due to gravity = mgh.

weight of ocean + weight of crust + weight of atmosphere = Normal force on mantle from magma = Holy shit it is gonna blow!

Japanese create new island due to man-made volcano. Boat and crew enjoying their new view from orbit.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277869)

you fail to consider the viscosity of the mantle, it oozes slowly.... VERY slowly it is not liquid magma.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277037)

The earth will not pop like a zit. Magma might flow up the narrow channel, but even if it makes it to the surface, it will hit some nice cool ocean water and make a rock plug. Even if I imagine a worst-case scenerio, it would look something like Hawaii or some other volcanic island... there are already plenty of holes in the earth. Although, maybe just to tempt fate they ought to set off a hydrogen bomb down there just to see what happens.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277083)

The magnetic pole has been moving these days. maybe they are trying to get a measure of the rotation of the earth's interior. Allthough I don't know why this couldn't be related to the change in magnetic feild.

the field shift is kind interesting considering it is accelerating. And acceleration can't occur without an outside force acting on it.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (2, Informative)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277124)

the field shift is kind interesting considering it is accelerating. And acceleration can't occur without an outside force acting on it.
Here's [nasa.gov] some better info on the magnetic field. I doubt an outside force needs to be involved with something as dynamic as the mantle. It's pretty much a world of it's own within ours.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277350)

actually the worst case scenario is the bore shaft manages to intersect an undersea magma pocket that is already under high pressure, and nearly ready to blow. somthing like that, say the size of yello stone park could erupt with the force of a couple hundred hiroshimas... true there would be a lot of ocean to absorb it, but the long terms effects of something like could be very hard to predict, it could unleash a giant cloud of ash and water vapor that brings a mega snow storm (say 2048" of precipitation over a week) over canada and burries north america under glaciers, if enough water vapor were released, and enough ash blocked enough sunlight and cooled it enough for it to fall as snow or freezing rain it's not impossible...

a bit fanciful, but not impossible.

Re:Detecting quakes? What about causing them? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277879)

A couple of hundred Hiroshimas would not cause the effects you describe. The Hiroshima blast was equivalent to 15 kilotons of TNT. The 2004 Indonesian tsunami is estimated to have released energy equivalent of 250 megatons of TNT, and it was devastating to only the immediate area's coastline. And again, like I said, the earth's crust will not pop like a zit. If the crust was stable enough to hold back pressure before, then drilling a small hole in it will not undermine it's integrity.

they better be carefull (0, Redundant)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276993)

hope they don't accidentally make a new volcano

Better yet, they do (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277141)

Think about it. If we can drill deep enough to get down to the magma layer, we can make boreholes/geothermal power plants anywhere we want. Think what this could do for power stations!

Journey to the center of the earth? (5, Insightful)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14276998)

That drill is going to make about 0.1% of the way.

Re:Journey to the center of the earth? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277078)

Maybe that's why the submission is cleverly titled "Journey towards the center of the earth"?

Center of the Earth? (2, Informative)

fanblade (863089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277006)

"on a voyage to collect the first samples of the Earth's mantle in human history"

Mantle != Core

Re:Center of the Earth? (1)

chris macura (899109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277099)

Yeah, but the mantle is mostly liquid, right? So we should be able to dump a capsule with measuring equipment on it and wait for it to "sink".

Pretty interesting actually.

Suppose a big capsule is built from a really heat resistant material. The capsule has a mechanism for converting heat to eletricity, and enough water to power an air-conditioning like system. The AC system keeps the sides of the capsule cool enough that they don't melt (think water-cooling like on computers), while the heat is used to generate electricity to the AC and whatever measuring things you have in the capsule.

Of course, communicating with the capsule would be rather difficult, so we shall send a human instead. ;-)

Totally off the wall idea?

Re:Center of the Earth? (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277191)

Heat is not so much an issue as pressure.

Said capsule would get squished like a p4 that just got slashdotted. And then would melt. ;)

Re:Center of the Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277198)

It violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which says you can't simply convert heat into useful energy. A heat engine needs a temperature difference. It would be interesting to see what kind of mantle probe the JPL people could come up with.

Re:Center of the Earth? (1, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277298)

"Yeah, but the mantle is mostly liquid, right? So we should be able to dump a capsule with measuring equipment on it and wait for it to "sink"'

No, it's mostly solid rock, mantle rock consists of olivines, mantle rocks also possesses a higher portion of iron and magnesium and a smaller portion of silicon and aluminium than the crust. In the mantle, temperatures range between 100C at the upper boundary to over 3,500C at the boundary with the core. Although these temperatures far exceed the melting points of the mantle rocks at the surface, particularly in deeper ranges, they are almost exclusively solid. The enormous pressure exerted on the mantle prevents them from melting.

Re:Center of the Earth? (1)

chris macura (899109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277403)

Bugger.

Oh well, one can dream.

Thanks for the response.

I've always wondered... (2, Interesting)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277007)

What will happen if they drill all the way to the mantle? Will the magma harden and plug the hole, or will it turn into a volcano?

Re:I've always wondered... (3, Informative)

pin_gween (870994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277059)

I thought the Russians had been drilling for a long time. They had reached 40,000 ft [alaska.edu] by 1985

A major problem they will encounter is the plasticity of rocks as the approach the mantle -- the heat and pressure allows rocks to flow, much like silly putty will ooze. That plasticity make it difficult to maintain an open well for the bit to drill through.

Re:I've always wondered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277061)

The Mantle is solid.

Re:I've always wondered... (5, Informative)

LeadfootCA (622446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277065)

The mantle is composed primarily of solid rock. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Mantle rock consists of olivines, different pyroxenes and other mafic minerals. Typified by peridotite, dunite, and eclogite, mantle rocks also possesses a higher portion of iron and magnesium and a smaller portion of silicon and aluminium than the crust. In the mantle, temperatures range between 100C at the upper boundary to over 3,500C at the boundary with the core. Although these temperatures far exceed the melting points of the mantle rocks at the surface, particularly in deeper ranges, they are almost exclusively solid. The enormous lithostatic pressure exerted on the mantle prevents them from melting.

Re:I've always wondered... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277314)

All the air will come out, and Earth will become a flattened balloon.

They won't come out in China... (5, Interesting)

PavementPizza (907876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277021)

...digging from Japan, it looks like they'll come out off the coast of Uruguay [cjb.net] (cool Google maps hack shows you where you will come out if you dig a hole through the center of the earth from any location).

Re:They won't come out in China... (1)

liangzai (837960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277080)

Well, how deep does the territorial sovereignty of Uruguay (or any nation) go? I mean, the core and the mantle are all floating around down there.

VIRUS EXPLOIT IN PARENT POST SITE. DON'T VISIT IT. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277354)

The site posted by the parent has several exploits. Good that my Mcafee is uptodate (I hope!). DON'T VISIT THE SITE!

-Itsme

Liar. (1)

PavementPizza (907876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277464)

Oh, bullsh*t. Mod this moron to oblivion.

Re:They won't come out in China... (1)

ggambett (611421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277476)

Wow! I, for one, actually live in Uruguay, so I'll be sure to welcome our new hole-drilling samurai overlords!

And whosoever was not found... (-1, Flamebait)

Duke Machesne (453316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277029)

...written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE [av1611.org] ." Revelation 20:15

Re:And whosoever was not found... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277709)

Is it a LAKE OF FIRE ? [watchtower.org] ."


btw.. not my beleifs, mine ? .. mine are my own, and I don't pester people with em. but since your into it, you can compare your scriptures to theirs... and damn if your both not right.

Pedant (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277048)

Call me a pedant, but I guess they meant "Chikyu means 'The Earth' in Japanese". The phrase 'Chikyu means the Earth in Japanese' suggests rather ambiguously that Chikyu is very important in Japanese.

I'll read the rest of the article now I've got that off my chest.

Re:Pedant (1)

cnerd2025 (903423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277112)

Heh. Or that "Chikyu means 'The Earth in Japanese'". Yours of course makes sesnse as a metaphor and mine is totally nonsensical, but c'est la vie.

Re:Pedant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277175)

True, but unlike the original article, you did it on purpose... I think that writing nonsensical stuff on purpose is the way forward. I think it's underrated as an art form.

Re:Pedant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277335)

I think that writing nonsensical stuff on purpose is the way forward. I think it's underrated as an art form.

That's why no one's ever heard of Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Rosanne Barr, or any of John Cleese's friends.

That's also why kindergardeners are forbidden to write at all before they can perfectly inscribe the entire alphabet.

Crack in the World! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277053)

Didn't they see this movie? Crazy.

I feel like I've seen this one before... (1)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277062)

They just better be sure to watch out for diamonds during their journey. Everyone knows diamonds are the hardest material on earth (forget scratch tests, diamonds are INDESTRUCTIBLE, right?). And even the magical laser beam on the ship's front won't be able to make them disintegrate like it will be able to with all the other rocks.

I just hope they get to the center in time to detonate the nuclear bombs in order to get it spinning again before the earth's magnetic field completely disappears.

Luckily there will be someone who gives their life during the mission to make sure everything goes as planned. Thank GOD for that guy as well as HORRIBLE HOLLYWOOD MOVIES.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298814/ [imdb.com]

But what about (1)

Swampfeet (758961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277079)




the Mohole [wikipedia.org] ? Why not start there!



thin crust, extra cheese (1)

fanblade (863089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277084)

"equipped with a 121-meter (400-foot) drill tower that can dig 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) below the seabed"

They're drilling 7 km into the crust. Am I the only one that thought the mantle was at least 30 km down at fault lines?

Re:thin crust, extra cheese (2, Informative)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277113)

They're drilling through the ocean floor, not from land- so the ocean takes care of a bunch of the crust for them.

Hayabusa... (2, Funny)

markild (862998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277088)

Well that was convenient. They can't make their stuff work in space exploring, so they're going for... well.. none-space exploring :P

Any life in the mantle? (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277101)

Given the existence of chemosynthetic [wikipedia.org] life at ocean ridge hotspots, I wonder about the potential for life in the mantle. Surely the continuing convection in the mantle and subduction zones provides the potential for non-equilibrium chemical reactions that could be a basis for life. Perhaps some form of complex aluminosilicate [colorado.edu] chains/matrix or semi-crystalline blebs could form the basis for non-carbon-based life. I'm not expecting anything particularly mobile or obvous (a la the silcon-based Horta in Star Trek [hiddenfrontier.com] ) but as long as a region supports both solid-phase and liquid-phase complex mixtures, then it seems life isn't impossible. Perhaps xenoliths [wikipedia.org] are the corpolites [emory.edu] or decomposed remnants of something down there.

Re:Any life in the mantle? (1)

kegger64 (653899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277860)

Congratulations, sir! You are a true geek. Your post made my brain hurt.

The first samples ... (2, Insightful)

athomascr (851385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277115)

>"on a voyage to collect the first samples of the Earth's mantle in human history" That is, the first samples that haven't come to us.

Solution to Peak Oil? (4, Interesting)

guygee (453727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277136)

This may be slightly off-topic. but it seems to me that if we improve drilling technology enough to breach the Earth's Mantle, there lies an almost endless supply of heat energy. According to http://zebu.uoregon.edu/ph162/l18.html [uoregon.edu] , the average thermal gradient is 30 degrees C per kilometer, so that at a depth of 20,000 feet, the temperature is 190 degrees C. The problem is that in solids the heat can only be replenished by diffusion, so that steam extraction of heat would occur faster than the heat can be replenished. However, if we could dig deep enough to where heat could be replenished by convection, then the concept of geothermal heat extraction could be feasible.

Another alternative that may currently be feasible is to detonate small H-bombs in deep cavities to replenish the heat. This, in fact, was already done in the PACER project, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PACER [wikipedia.org] . The major problem in the Pacer project was the reliance of plutonium fission bombs to initiate the fusion reaction, which created problems with radioactive waste. If a "Fusion Fuse" other than fission could be devised, we could dispense with esoteric, far-in-the-future methods of controlling fusion above ground, and simply use deep cavities in the Earth to release heat via uncontrolled fusion reactions, and extract the heat.

Bottom Line: I am not buying into the "Peak Oil Doomsday Scenario" http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Index.html [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net] just yet.

Re:Solution to Peak Oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277864)

Bottom Line: I am not buying into the "Peak Oil Doomsday Scenario" http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Index.html [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net] just yet.

Start drilling now, after the crash, nobody's going to pay $150 a barrel just so you can dig a few holes in your yard. People need that stuff to run their SUVs and yachts, not some stupid drill.

Those pesky kanji... (2, Informative)

gnownaym (705075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277161)

If anyone's interested, the kanji (Chinese-derived characters) for "chikyuu" are (if this shows up at all):

(if that didn't work, try this one: http://www5.big.or.jp/~otake/hey/kanji/gifmoji/f5/ chikyuu.gif [big.or.jp] )

where the first one is read "chi", meaning earth (in the dirt sense). The second is read "kyuu" and means "ball".

So. Welcome to my planet, dirtball.

Re:Those pesky kanji... (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277226)

in Mandarin the first character is pronounced "di4." Same meaning earth/ground/land. The second is pronounced "qiu2" and stands for sphere or ball/sphere, like you said.

Re:Those pesky kanji... (1)

Brushen (938011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277306)

And together, they make the word for Earth. In the planet sense.

Another Glomar Explorer? (2, Funny)

zelbinion (442226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277169)

Tinfoil Hat: On

Okay, who lost the submarine [wikipedia.org] THIS time?

Tinfoil Hat: Off

Re:Another Glomar Explorer? (1)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277200)

LOL. They probably found an alien spaceship buried or something and want to raise it. Probably is a cover for something else.

Core Issues (1)

sinij (911942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277184)

Did our core stopped spinning again?

tubgi87 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277185)

Another spEcial [goat.cx]

Calling CleverNickName! (1)

DG (989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277219)

Dude! After this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0202314/ [imdb.com]

you could be a consultant!

DG

Captain Obvious Says.... (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277321)

"I presume this will help predict an earthquake, which will be a breakthrough in seismology"

Predicting earthquakes? A Breakthrough(TM) indeed...

Scott Adams quote... (2, Funny)

Daedalus-Ubergeek (600951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277367)

(From the Dilbert Future or the Dilbert Principle) I remember reading something along the lines of, "If you drill a hole in the earth, all the gravity would escape!" Better send the Japanese a copy!

You will be... (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277398)

Will they suck out the earth's molten core through the hole, turning the earth (the big one) into a giant spaceship?

Re:You will be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277440)

Isn't the earth already a giant spaceship? Haven't you been to EPCOT, bitch?

DONT DO IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14277405)

The Earthquake was obviously Godzilla being released from his sleep in the sea,
so he will stop the Japanese from drilling into the Earth.

If the Japanese drill into the Earth, they will release Wormong, the flaming worm,
and it will attack and destroy Tokyo!

Actually it sounds like a Real Estate investment scheme in Japan:

1. Drill Into Earth Magma
2. Create Giant Volcano
3. Volcano makes new Islands for Japan.
4. ...
5. PROFIT!

We already know what's down there .... (1)

cboening (634511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277411)

Sounds like a waste of time to me. NBC has already shown us what's down there ... large lizard monsters swimming in lava!
http://www.nbc.com/Surface/ [nbc.com]

Messed-Up HTML (0, Offtopic)

kmactane (18359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277445)

What's up with the screwy HTML in the submission? It looks like someone completely forgot to close an <a> tag, and yet it got posted like this anyway. Did Zonk not notice this before approving the post? Or are Slashdot editors deliberately approving ugly, messed-up stuff just to try to drive us nuts?

Either way, it just plain looks baaad.

Obligatory overlord statement (1)

eyebits (649032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277482)

I, for one, welcome our new overlord from the center of the Earth.

Where is Art Bell when you need him? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277695)

Is Art Bell still alive? Someone give him a call about this. Remember the "recording of hell" [amightywind.com] thing?

Four words... (1)

pjwhite (18503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277827)

Crack In The World [imdb.com]

too deep! (1)

dipo (224074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14277841)

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

OMG ;)
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