The trials of the Jiaolong, China's research submersible, is only the beginning of China's blue print to construct its own deep sea station, experts say.
The country hopes ultimately to build an underwater station 22 meters long by 7 meters wide. This station would be able to provide food, clothing and shelter to divers. Furthermore, a manned submarine capable of diving to a depth of 4,500 meters is in the works. Fang Shujia, vice president of the China Shipbuilding Industry Society, said that the new submersible will be a "real Chinese dragon born in China."
"The deep sea station will be able to carry out emergency maintenance in cases similar to the [Deepwater Horizon] offshore oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico," said Ma Xiangneng, senior engineer for the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, "The station makes it possible for experts to investigate and contain oil leaks under deep sea conditions."
Ma hopes that one day a docking mission under the sea can be completed similar to the recent successful space docking of the Shenzhou-9 with the Tiangong-1 module, even though it might still take 10 to 15 years to construct a deep sea station.