April 10, 2017 - 13:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Humans have been to the Moon and explored almost every corner of the planet -- but there's one place they have never been, CNN reports.
A group of Japanese scientists said they plan to be the first group to successfully drill into the Earth's mantle, the planet's vast molten-rock interior, which lies just beneath the outer crust.
Researchers at Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) say they are hoping to discover more about how our planet was formed and what the mantle is composed of. Japanese media first reported on the project earlier this week.
The mantle makes up more than 80% of the entire Earth's mass, lying six miles (10 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor.
"We don't know the exact (composition) of the mantle yet. We have only seen some mantle materials -- the rock is very beautiful, it's kind of a yellowish green," researcher Natsue Abe, who works for JAMSTEC, said.
The Japanese government, which is helping fund the expedition, hopes the research could help discover ways to better predict earthquakes, Abe said.
"In Japan we have some volcanoes, earthquakes and such kind of natural hazards. People (want to create) some monitoring or analysis equipment but we don't know ... what kind of factor to use," Abe said.
"So we need to know the natural system more clearly or precisely ... we have to observe the earth more precisely."