China Building Deep Sea Habitat


Reportedly the prototype/initial base will support 12 men. Then it will either be expanded or replaced so that it can support 33 men. It wil lbe nuclear powered and, contrary to earlier reports it will be a fixed seafloor habitat rather than a mobile submarine.

The official story is that the base is meant to facilitate deep sea mining. However even in very rough surface weather, deep sea mining robots can be operated via tether from a conventional sub loitering just 200 feet down.

There is no application I know of other than military which would justify such an expense. But then, 9,800 feet is many times deeper than the crush depth of nuclear subs, which is ~1,600 feet. A base at this depth would only be able to service much smaller craft, like deep diving research submersibles.

What are they building this for? What’s down there that would be worth so much?


China’s complete lack of regard for human life means you can expect them to do crazy, unsafe stuff for fun.

Truly the most industrious people out there at the moment.


The US government has built stuff like this in the past, but it was very small. Usually no more than 6 men. Also very shallow, around 200-300 feet.

The only US underwater base officially still in operation is only 63 feet deep and supports 6 people. So for China to build something that supports 33 crew at thousands of feet down is truly audacious and unprecedented. This is basically an oceanic moon shot.


There must be a vast, unusually pure deposit of gold in the south china sea we don’t know about. And there would need to be some reason robots couldn’t easily extract it, operated by humans from a safer depth. This is nuts.


They already have nearly a monopoly on rare earths, which happen to be the specific metals needed for all electronics, including stuff like electric cars, solar panels and smartphones. This strategy is certainly good for them but it’s bad for the rest of the world.

A few years back China cut off rare metal exports just to show they could, and what would happen if they did. The response has been for Japanese and US companies to devise ways to use as little rare earth metals as possible in stuff that currently uses a lot, like electric motors, but we can’t eliminate the need entirely.


I think this is cool. Could this be the ultimate Chinese Gitmo? Let’s fund Elon Musk and have him build one of these suckers off Martha’s Vineyard.