About 22 Chinese scientists began one month of live-streaming deep-sea exploration of the South China Sea on Tuesday.
The team will explore up to 4,000 meters underwater for the first time using a Canada-made unmanned submersible, according to a report on the website of Tongji University, a comprehensive university located in Shanghai.
Maritime science enthusiasts, college and high school students can watch the Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science (ROPOS) robot collecting samples and interact with scientists in real time.
Twenty-two scientists from nine universities and research institutes are led by Zhou Huaiyang, a professor at the university's school of marine and earth science.
"The live-stream activity aims to make more people feel the real ocean," Zhou told the Global Times on Wednesday. "It's an attempt to explore a new way of interaction between humans and the ocean."
This will be the first time China has used high-tech telepresence technology in deep-sea exploration, which will enable other scientists to also join in the exploration and decision-making process without being there, Zhou said.
By connecting ROPOS and the research vessel with a coaxial cable, real-time underwater data can be transmitted, Zhou said.
"People can watch via point-to-point connection or through the internet," he said.
Following the easing of tension in the South China Sea, "it was necessary for Chinese to learn more about Chinese territory," said Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea in Haikou, a port city and the capital of China's island province Hainan.
The live-streaming would increase people's interest in scientific research, and benefit the development and protection of projects in the South China Sea, Chen told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The expedition is funded by the National Natural Social Science Foundation and the unmanned submersible, equipped with high definition cameras, can operate underwater for 24 hours with rests.