So not only is China reaching for the stars, it is also setting its goggles on the deep seas. According to Nature increased funding for oceanography, especially research and development of deep-sea technology should be included in the next five-year plan (2011-2015).
The interest for the deep seas is of course fuelled by noble scientific endavours such as having geophysicists study hydrotermal activity on the Southwest Indian Ridge! But commercial motivation are not too far: drilling data gathered in the South East have proved useful for the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, something that will encourage China’s hunt for offshore oil and minerals. And for those left wondering, hydrothermal vents have large sulfide deposits rich in copper, zinc, gold, and other minerals.
Admiral Zheng He would be proud of this return to the sea!