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Hainan college professor shines as aquanaut of Shen Hai Yong Shi

ehainan.gov.cn | Updated: 2019-04-09

"The deep sea is not the colorful fantasy world like we used to imagine. It's complete darkness about 200 meters under sea level," said Su Jing, sharing her experience as an aquanaut conducting a scientific expedition in the Indian Ocean with China's manned submersible Shen Hai Yong Shi.


China's manned submersible Shen Hai Yong Shi. [Photo/Nanguo Metropolis Daily]

The submersible completed its mission and returned to Sanya on March 10. Its mission achieved several fruitful outcomes, including completing deep field surveys of five hydrothermal zones, collecting a batch of scientifically valuable biological samples of hydrothermal fluid, sulfide, bed rock, and hydrothermal microorganisms, and capturing high-definition videos of seafloor hydrothermal activity.

Su, an associate professor at the College of Computer Science and Technology in Hainan Tropical Ocean University, could never imagined herself being part of this activity without listening to the lecture of the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2006.


Su Jing, an aquanaut of Shen Hai Yong Shi and associate professor of College of Computer Science and Technology in Hainan Tropical Ocean University. [Photo by Tan Qi/Nanguo Metropolis Daily]

Cherishing a deep curiosity of the ocean, Su joined the institute and started her internship after passing multiple tests.

Now, Su holds the position as the port side pilot in charge of maintaining communication with water surface and maintaining life-support facilities. Over the past two years, she has engaged in two marine research missions and conducted 13 dives, the deepest of which was 2,800 meters under sea level.

According to Su, the submersible chamber can allow three people to perform underwater operations simultaneously, namely two aquanauts and one scientist. The total darkness in the deep sea and the high temperature in hydrothermal areas exerted demanding tests for divers' abilities and skills.

This June, Shen Hai Yong Shi is scheduled to set off for another expedition. Su will be included in the mission to play her role. She hopes to combine her teaching career with the diving vocation to let students learn more about submarine science.