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India set to launch deep sea mission:
The Union Cabinet has approved the long pending Deep Ocean Mission.
About the Mission:
The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.
- The mission is expected to cost ₹4,077 crore over the next five years.
- The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
Key Components of the mission:
- A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. An Integrated Mining System will be developed for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.
- Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services.
- Development of a component for searching deep sea flora and fauna, including microbes, and studying ways to sustainably utilise them.
- The next component is to explore and identify potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals formed from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.
- It has a component for studying and preparing detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants.
- The final component is aimed at grooming experts in the field of ocean biology and engineering. This component aims to translate research into industrial applications and product development through on-site business incubator facilities.
- The mission will give a boost to efforts to explore India’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.
- The plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
India has been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploration of poly-metallic nodules.
- CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
- It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.
What are PMN?
Polymetallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.
Composition: Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
Do you know about Hydrothermal vents? Read Here
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- What is deep sea mining?
- What are PMNs?
- Location of the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
- Functions of the UN International Sea Bed Authority.
Discuss the need for and significance of ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ to be launched by India.
Sources: the Hindu.