SHANGHAI, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China will work with British and American universities to research life in the deepest depths of the sea with the help of a manned submersible the country is developing to dive up to 11,000 meters under water.
The Rainbowfish Hadal Life Science Research Center, which opened in Shanghai Tuesday, has signed agreements to establish a lab with Britain's University of Aberdeen and another with Hawaii Pacific University in the United States.
The center will also partner with the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences for another lab.
These facilities will study data and specimens collected by the Rainbow Fish submersible China is aiming to put into service in 2016. The vessel will allow scientists to penetrate deep into "hadal" trenches, those with a depth of 6,500 meters or more, said Cui Weicheng, the center's director.
"The oceans are so large and the deep-sea environment so complicated that no country can complete a large-scale research project on its own, so international cooperation must be stressed," Cui said.
China began developing Rainbow Fish in 2014. It will be able to go much deeper than the Jiaolong submersible, which set a Chinese manned diving record when it reached 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.
With a combined area larger than the United States, the world's 26 hadal trenches are home to many unknown species and bountiful energy and metal resources. Yet explorations at these depths have been held back by many difficulties including high pressures and low temperatures.