“Hadal” is the word scientists would use to describe the zone of the sea greater than 6,000 m in depth. The hadal zone, comprising mostly deep trenches on Earth, represents the most mysterious yet poorly understood habitat on our planet. An increasing knowledge of the hadal zone will help us better understand ecology, global climate and protection of the marine environment, etc.
In mid-November, 14 international students from ZJU’s Ocean College had an opportunity to explore arguably the last great frontiers in marine science. They visited the Hadal Science and Technology Research Center (HAST) at Shanghai Ocean University, China’s leading institute in this specific area, and the Rainbowfish Ocean Technology Company, which aims to realize manned travel to the depth of 11,000 m in the Mariana Trench by 2019.
From video presentations, exhibitions and discussions with marine researchers, the students received detailed information about this cutting-edge field, from which they would draw fresh inspirations on further study.
“We are looking forward to the Rainbowfish, which has started its path to challenge the extreme of hadal zones. I believe China will be the first country to reach extreme depths to explore the mysteries of the marine environment,” said Mohsan Syed Agha Hassnain, a student from the Ocean College.
In addition to hadal research tours, students also visited Tongji University, a key host of the entire study tour, and Yangshan Deep-Water Port, Polar Research Institute of China, museums and historic sites in Shanghai, as well as Chongming Island, where they conducted a geological survey.
Ms. ZHANG Yuyi, international program coordinator at the Ocean College, said: “Extending knowledge of Chinese technology, history and culture is one of the advantages of this visit. This study tour represents a great step for new international students to explore China.”
These eye-opening visits are part of an annual study tour sponsored by the State Oceanic Administration of China (SOA) and China Scholarship Council (CSC). Coming from Zhejiang, Xiamen, Shanghai Ocean, and Tongji universities, the 45 participating students are enrolled in various academic programs supported by the Chinese Government Marine Scholarship.
“We are highly indebted to SOA and CSC for engaging us and providing this opportunity for constructive, dynamic learning, research and cultural growth,” Mohsan added.