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Self-guiding submarine dives to record 1,753 meters.

TOKYO, Dec. 12 Kyodo

A self-guiding, cable-free research submarine has managed to dive to a depth of 1,753 meters, setting the world record for the deepest dive by an unmanned, unguided submersible, officials at the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center said Tuesday.

It took the Urashima one hour to hit the ocean bottom about 40 kilometers off Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, on Dec. 3, from where it sent color pictures taken by a television camera mounted on its front.

The underwater images were transmitted via supersonic waves to a facility above ground, almost without any time lag.

The center has other unmanned submersibles at its disposal, including the Kaiko, which managed to reach a depth of 10,000 meters while still attached to a mother ship via a cable.

Because it has no cables, the Urashima is expected to be able to explore a wider area than the Kaiko was able to.

The center plans to have the Urashima dive to 3,500 meters over a distance of 300 km by fiscal 2003.

The center will also use the Urashima to research global warming by such means as sampling water in the Arctic Ocean, the officials said.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Dec 18, 2000
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