earth\'s interior
Scientists from Japan want to discover what lies at the Earth's mantle Nasa

Scientists from Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (Jamstec) plan to embark on a landmark project to successfully drill all the way through the Earth's crust and reach the mantle for the first time in history.

The team plans to achieve the feat by using Japan's largest underwater sea drill Chikyu which is expected to go through 4km of water and 6km of crust to be able to reach the mantle. The mantle makes up roughly 84% of our planet's volume.

"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 told The Japan News.

The scientists plan to conduct a preliminary study in the waters off Hawaii this September to determine whether it would be a good drilling spot. If it doesn't work, the second choice lies beneath the waters off Costa Rica and the third off Mexico. All three locations are situated beneath the ocean, because the continental crust is twice as thick as the oceanic crust making it extremely difficult to drill.

The Japanese government will be providing partial funding for the project hoping it will lead to better understanding of tectonic plates and use the data to predict earthquakes better. The project also seeks to gain insight into the history of our planet.

Recently, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling attempted a similar drill but only managed to go 0.7km deep.