28 May 2009


One weird-ass ship

Chikyu / ちきゅう at Flickr.comAt first, you might think a cruise ship collided with an oil rig and then crashed into part of a highway overpass, but no, it's just the M/V Chikyu (via the Maritime Blog). Here's how the BBC describes it:

The idea was simple. Scientists wanted to drill down into the Earth's crust—and even through the crust—to get samples from the key zones 6 or 7 km down where earthquakes and lots of other interesting geological processes begin; but that was impossible with existing ships.

Solution: find six hundred million dollars, and design and build a new one.

The Chikyu was built in Japan, is 210 m long (almost 690 feet, as long as a decent-sized cruise ship), and 130 m from the keel to the top of the drilling rig (about 425 feet, taller than a Saturn V rocket floating upright in the ocean). It has a crew of 150.

The crazy structure on the front is a helicopter landing pad. During construction, the ship was nicknamed "Godzilla-maru." And you know, $600 million is a lot of money, but it's not outrageous considering what this vessel does. It's the same price as only two or three 747 jets, for instance.

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