In order to explore the potential of the seabed, the National Institute of Ocean Technology’s (NIOT) MATSYA 6000 will dive 6,000-meter into the Indian Ocean under the Samudrayaan mission.
- India’s seabed and the relevant zones with economic potential are not deeper than 6,000 metres.
- India’s energy needs and increasing competition to harness ocean resources are the key thrust for the Samudrayaan mission.
- The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has allocated about 75,0000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) to conduct exploratory mining (of polymetallic nodules).
- Just this month the UN passed the High Seas treaty (India too has committed to this) that seeks to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.
- MATSYA-6000 is a spherical, titanium hull (made by ISRO) equipped with life-support, capable of floating underwater and collecting soil and rock samples from the seabed with attached robotic arms.
- Three navigators, over a fortnight and about 1,500 km away from Kanyakumari will undertake multiple trips – each lasting about 12 hours (descent and ascent will be 8 hours and rest is exploration, surveying and scientific activity).
- At a depth of 6,000 metres, the weight of water would be nearly 600 times that at sea level which makes the pressurised hull the most important component of the submersible.
- About 60% of the submersible was manufactured in India. Components such as cameras, sensors, and communication systems were bought from international vendors.
- Over the years, NIOT has consulted with crewed-submersible experts from several countries – Japan, Russia, France and the know-how to ensure a safe ascent and descent.
What is Samudrayaan Mission?
- Samudrayaan, or the journey into the sea, is a mission launched in 2021 to unlock the mysteries of the deep ocean for mineral resources and develop deep sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.
- A sub-component of India’s Deep-Sea Mission, the Samudrayaan mission aimed at supporting the Blue Economy initiatives of the Indian government by developing niche technology, vehicles to carry out subsea activities.
- The MoES is the nodal ministry to implement this multi-institutional ambitious mission.
- The estimated cost of the mission will be Rs 4077 crore for a period of 5 years to be implemented in a phase-wise manner – cost for the first phase (2021-2024) would be Rs 2823.4 crore.
- Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will actively participate in this mission.
- It was conceptualised based on the forthcoming Gaganyaan mission – ISRO’s attempt at a crewed mission into space – expected in late 2024 or 2025.
What is MATSYA 6000?
- It is a manned submersible vehicle developed by NIOT under the Samudrayaan mission to facilitate humans in the deep ocean in exploring mineral resources like Nickel, Cobalt, Rare Earths, Manganese, etc.
- Expected to be launched in 2024-25, it would make India only one among six countries (US, Russia, Japan, France, and China) to have piloted a crewed under-sea expedition beyond 5,000 metres.