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Gaganyaan UPSC NOTE

 Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)

  • DOM is a deep-sea exploration and research mission launched by the Indian government in 2014.

  • The mission is aimed at developing India's capability to explore and exploit the resources of the deep ocean.

  • The DOM is a multi-disciplinary mission involving scientists, engineers, and technologists from various institutions and organizations. 

The mission is being implemented in two phases. 

  • The first phase, which began in 2014, is focused on developing the necessary technologies and infrastructure for deep ocean exploration and research. 

Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)

  •  The second phase, which is expected to begin in 2020, will focus on the exploration of the deep ocean resources and on the development of technologies for their sustainable exploitation.

  • The DOM is a significant undertaking that has the potential to transform India's understanding and use of the deep ocean

  • The mission is expected to lead to the development of new technologies, the discovery of new resources, and the creation of new jobs.

  • The DOM is also expected to contribute to India's national security and to its blue economy.


Six pillars of the mission 

  1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, Manned Submersible, and Underwater Robotics.

  2. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services.

  3. Technological Innovations for Exploration and Conservation of Deep-sea Biodiversity.

  4. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration.

  5. Energy and Freshwater from the Ocean.

  6. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology.

Matsya6000

  • Matsya 6000 is a crewed deep-submergence vehicle (DSV) being developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in India

  • It is designed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 meters, which is the deepest point in the Indian Ocean. 

  • Matsya 6000 will be used for deep-sea exploration and research, including the study of marine biodiversity, the assessment of deep-sea resources, and the development of technologies for deep-sea mining.

Matsya6000

  • Matsya 6000 is a titanium alloy sphere with a diameter of 2.1 meters and a wall thickness of 80 millimeters. 

  • It is equipped with a variety of sensors and tools for scientific research, as well as a life support system that can sustain the crew for up to 96 hours.

  • It will be deployed from the NIOT's research vessel Sagar Nidhi.

  • Matsya 6000 will also help India to better understand the deep ocean and to develop technologies to protect it.

  • Mission is expected to be launched in 2024

Mariana Trench

  • The Mariana Trench is the deepest oceanic trench on Earth. 

  • It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, about 200 kilometers (124 mi) east of the Mariana Islands. 

  • The trench is crescent-shaped and measures about 2,550 kilometers (1,580 mi) in length and 69 kilometers (43 mi) in width. 

  • The Mariana Trench is part of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction system that forms the boundary between two tectonic plates. 

  • In this system, the western edge of one plate, the Pacific Plate, is subducted beneath the smaller Mariana Plate that lies to the west

Why has a depth of 6,000 m been chosen

  • The depth of 6,000 meters was chosen for the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) because it is the maximum depth at which manned submersibles can currently operate. 

  • It is also the depth of many of the most important deep-sea resources, such as polymetallic nodules and hydrothermal vents.

  • Polymetallic nodules are mineral-rich concretions that form on the deep-sea floor. 

  • They contain a variety of valuable metals, including nickel, copper, cobalt, and manganese.

  • Hydrothermal vents are underwater hot springs that spew out mineral-rich fluids. 

  • The DOM aims to develop technologies for the sustainable exploitation of these deep-sea resources. 

  • By developing manned submersibles that can operate at depths of 6,000 meters.

  •  India will be able to access and exploit these resources in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

What are polymetallic nodules and polymetallic sulphides 

  • Polymetallic nodules and polymetallic sulphides are both types of mineral deposits that are found on the deep seafloor. 

  • Polymetallic nodules are potato-shaped concretions that are made up of a variety of metals, including manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt. 

  • Polymetallic sulphides are massive deposits of mineral-rich sulphides that are formed around hydrothermal vents.

  • Polymetallic nodules are formed over millions of years by the precipitation of metals from seawater. 

  • They are typically found in water depths of 4,000 to 6,000 meters, and they can be up to 20 centimeters in diameter.

  • Polymetallic nodules are a potential source of a variety of valuable metals, and they are currently being explored by a number of countries.

  • Polymetallic sulphides are formed around hydrothermal vents, which are underwater hot springs that spew out mineral-rich fluids

  • Polymetallic sulphides are typically found in water depths of 2,000 to 3,000 meters.

  • Polymetallic sulphides are a potential source of a variety of valuable metals, including gold, silver, copper, and cobalt.

Is exploring deep oceans more challenging than exploring outer space? 

  • Both environments are extremely hostile and present unique challenges.

  • Deep ocean exploration requires specialized equipment and vehicles to withstand the immense pressure and darkness of the depths. 

  • The pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean, is over 1,000 times greater than at sea level. 

  • The deep ocean is also pitch black, making it difficult to navigate and see anything

  • This is why submersibles are equipped with powerful lights and sonar systems.

  • Outer space exploration also requires specialized equipment and vehicles, but the challenges are different. 

  • The primary challenge in space is the vacuum.

  • There is no air or atmosphere in space, so astronauts must wear pressurized suits to survive. 

  • Space is also very cold, so spacecraft must be insulated to protect the crew and equipment.

  • Another challenge in space is the radiation environment

  • Space is bombarded with radiation from the sun and other cosmic sources. 

  • This radiation can damage spacecraft and electronics, and it can also pose a health risk to astronauts.

  • Despite the challenges, both deep ocean exploration and outer space exploration have made significant progress in recent years


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