… during its design … the ship became known as “Godzilla-maru”, so unusual and top-heavy were its projected lines.
“We started planning the Chikyu about 15 years ago, and there were some people who thought we were too ambitious,” he recalled.
“But now we can see that the ship is doing what it is designed to do and is opening up new possibilities.”
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 7km 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.