The deep-sea vessel Chikyu, which will be used to drill to the deepest depths ever to shed light on the mysteries beneath the planet's crust, was delivered to the marine science agency
Friday, the Japan Times reported
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHVYF)
, which built the research vessel, held a delivery ceremony at its dockyard in Nagasaki. The 210-meter, 57,087-ton ship is theoretically capable of drilling 7,000 meters below the seabed.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology plans to open the vessel to the public in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in September after fine-tuning its equipment in August.
The ship, which is equipped with a 130-meter-high drilling platform, will depart for its first drilling mission off the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori next summer.
The agency said earlier that the ship will drill 2,500 meters in the first mission to break the 2,111-meter record held by a U.S. drilling ship.
Test drilling will be undertaken by about 60 agency staff and engineers from a Norwegian firm to confirm the ship's performance by September 2007.