It’s one of the weirdest aspects of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR: a race to build not the bigger rocket or the better city or even the superior technology, but to see who could dig the deepest hole into the Earth’s crust.
Like kids trying to dig to the other side of the planet to get to China or Australia, but with power tools and the backing of their governments and vastly greater sums of money to support their efforts.
The Race To The Bottom:
The US kicked off the race in 1961 with Project Mohole, which aimed at reaching the Mohorovičić discontinuity, which is the place where the Earth’s crust meets the mantle.
Over the next five years, the team at Project Mohole succeeded in digging 601 feet (183 meters) down into the earth’s crust.
The impressive part is that they were doing so through 11,700 feet (3,566 meters) of ocean water.
The Holiest Hole:
In the first phase, five holes were drilled deep into the earth off the coast of Mexico’s Guadalupe Island.
One stretched 601 feet deep (183 meters), a record for the time because of the depth of the ocean and the fact that the hole was drilled from a platform.