Chinese researchers carry out live-streaming of deep-sea exploration in South China Sea

BEIJING - A team of Chinese scientists on Tuesday (April 17) began one month of live-streaming deep-sea exploration of the South China Sea, the Global Times reported.

The team will explore up to 4,000 meters underwater for the first time using a Canadian-made unmanned submersible, according to a report on the website of Tongji University in Shanghai.

Maritime science enthusiasts, college and high school students can watch the Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science (ROPOS) robot collecting samples and interact with scientists in real time, the Global Times said.

The 22 scientists from nine universities and research institutes are led by Professor Zhou Huaiyang from Tongji University's school of marine and earth science.

"The live-stream activity aims to make more people feel the real ocean," Prof Zhou told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"It's an attempt to explore a new way of interaction between humans and the ocean."

This will be the first time China is using high-ech telepresence technology in deep-sea exploration, which will enable other scientists to also join in the exploration and decision-making process without being there, Prof Zhou added.

By connecting ROPOS and the research vessel with a coaxial cable, real-time underwater data can be transmitted, he said.

"People can watch via point-to-point connection or through the Internet," he said.

Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea in Haikou, Hainan, the live-streaming would increase people's interest in scientific research, and benefit the development and protection of projects in the South China Sea, adding that "it was necessary for Chinese to learn more about Chinese territory".

The expedition is funded by the National Natural Social Science Foundation. The unmanned submersible, equipped with high definition cameras, can operate underwater for 24 hours with rests in between.