Having ignored dozens of dire warnings from Hollywood and science-fiction novels about the dangers of doing so, scientists are forging ahead with plans to drill all the way through Earth's thick crust and sample its hot mantle.
"That has been a long-term ambition of earth scientists," geologist Damon Teagle told National Geographic News.
But a lack of suitable technology and insufficient understanding of the crust have long tempered that ambition. [...]
Now, better knowledge of the Earth's shell and technological advances—for example, a Japanese drill ship equipped with six miles (ten kilometers) of drilling pipe—have put the goal within reach, according to a commentary in this week's issue of the journal Nature, co-written by Teagle, a geologist at the U.K.'s University of Southampton.
Even so, drilling into the mantle would be "very expensive" and would require new drillbit and lubricant designs, among other things, according to the paper.
But if all goes as planned, drilling could begin by 2020, Teagle said. As soon as next month, the team will begin exploratory missions in the Pacific, where crews will "bore further into the oceanic crust than ever before," the paper says.
I mean, what could go wrong? Link