India's ambition to send men to the deep sea in a submersible vehicle is likely to be a reality in 2021-22 with the 'Samudrayaan' project, a senior official said.
The project proposes to send a submersible vehicle with three persons to a depth of about 6000 metres to carry out deep underwater studies, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Director M.A Atmanand said.
The indigenously developed vehicle is capable of crawling on the sea bed at a depth of six kilometre for 72 hours, he said.
"Similar to ISRO's plan to carry persons on a space mission, NIOT has undertaken 'Samudrayaan'. The Rs 200 crore project proposes to carry three persons in a submersible vehicle to a depth of 6000 metres under sea for various studies. Submarines go only about 200 metres," Atmanand said, responding to a query about deep sea mining.
The 'Samudrayaan' project undertaken by the NIOT, Chennai, is in line with the ISRO's ambitious 'Gaganyaan' mission of sending an astronaut to space by 2022.
The success of the 'Samudrayaan' will help India to join the league of developed nations in exploration of minerals from oceans, Atmanand said.
Such missions had already been carried by developed countries and India could be the first among the developing nations, he said.
The 'Samudrayaan' is a part of the Ministry of Earth Sciences' pilot project for deep ocean mining for rare minerals.