The Chikyu research vessel is a ship with a drill that can reach deeper under the earth's surface than any other drill system in the world. At a cost of $540 million, it's capable of reaching
In 2007, off the coast of Japan, it became the first mission to study subduction zones, the area between tectonic plates that is the birthplace of many earthquakes. Over the next three years, scientists will tack on at least an extra mile of drill and attempt the most ambitious mission ever: piercing the Earth’s mantle. There, scientists expect to find the same conditions as those in the early Earth—and perhaps the same life-forms that thrived then.
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-03/deepest-drill | Image: Coherent Images