India's ambitious project to send a team to the deep sea in a submersible vehicle is likely to becom a reality in 2021-22 with the ''Samudrayaan'' project, a senior official said.
The project proposes to send a submersible vehicle with three people to a depth of about 6, 000 metres, to carry out deep underwater studies, National Institute of Ocean Technology Director MA Atmanand said.
The indigenously developed vehicle is capable of crawling on the sea bed at a depth of six kilometers for 72 hours, he said.
"Similar to ISRO's plan to carry persons on a space mission, NIOT has undertaken Samudrayaan. The Rs 200-crore project proposes to carry three persons in a submersible vehicle to a depth of 6,000 metres under sea. Submarines go only about 200 metres," he added .
The success of the ''Samudrayaan'' will help India join the league of developed nations in exploration of minerals from oceans.
The ''Samudrayaan'' is a part of the Ministry of Earth Sciences' pilot project for deep ocean mining for rare minerals.
India has been allocated a site of 75,000 sq km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin by the International Sea Bed Authority for exploration of polymetallic nodules from seabed.
The estimated resource of polymetallic nodules is about 380 million tonnes, containing 4.7 million tonnes of nickel, 4.29 million tonnes of copper and 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt and 92.59 million tonnes of manganese.