Since the 1950s, scientists and engineers have dreamt of crossing the terrestrial frontier to reach
the mantle. The quest began in 1958 with "Project Mohole" , conceived as the equivalent in Earth
science of Space science's moon shot. While it did not reach the mantle, Project Mohole cracked
open the way for decades of discovery with new capabilities to retrieve and study cored samples of
sediment and rock brought up from the ocean floor.
These studies have revealed insights into the chemistry of ancient oceans and Earth's past climate.
They revealed the deep biosphere of microbial life surviving within the oceanic sediment and crust at
temperatures and pressures previously unimagined. Since these pioneering efforts, stronger
materials, new analytical technologies, and more sophisticated drilling techniques have steered the
design of a new generation of scientific ocean drilling vessels. The Chikyu which will enable even