Ocean Exploration: Should We Dive Deeper?
Space: the final frontier
Or is it?
Currently, many scientists admit we know more about the mapping of our solar system than we do about our own oceans here on earth. Strange, isn’t it? How is it that we have detailed maps of the moon, yet we are so in the dark (literally) about the ocean’s floor?
Many argue whether or not the remaining 95% of the ocean yet to be mapped is worth the price that comes with exploring such unknown territory. Surely with all the intense modern-day technology, ocean exploration can’t be too hard—but that doesn’t take away from the countless amounts of money, hours, studies, etc. that would come along with this massive ambition.
Though, at the same time there are projects in the works urging to send people to Mars, so is exploring the oceans really that much more out of our pockets?
The facts that make this interesting:
- 71% of the globe is covered by ocean
- Only 5% of the ocean has been explored
- Of this 5% explored, it holds 90% of the world’s million species of life
- There are countless wreckages, fossils, undiscovered creatures, and minerals/rocks still to be found
What could we discover?
Nobody’s saying this is going to be a cheap feat. In fact, it’ll cost billions. Moreover, a lot of the discoveries and searching that will take place may end up revealing very little about the ocean while only offering miniscule amounts of new knowledge. There will be lots of mud, sand, and murky water. But how would we know what is necessarily considered an “extraordinary finding” without having a ton of average findings to compare the amazing ones to?
For starters, the National Ocean Service estimates that there is around $700 trillion in gold within our ocean. Ka-Ching!
Of course, it’s scattered in a lot of places and due to the ocean’s tremendous size, the chances of stumbling upon a chunk of gold that can buy you a mansion are pretty slim. But people enter the lottery with near-impossible chances of winning. Why not do science and society a favour and explore the ocean as a part of your quest to get rich instead of guessing the order of numbered balls coming out of a pot?
Surely there are treasure chests and ship wreckages around too. Stumble across anything like that, especially if it has historical significance, and you and the rest of your bloodline will won’t need to work for a long, long time. Additionally, your name may go down in history for your contribution to history.
Did you know a man once found half a billion dollar’s worth of emeralds off the coast of Florida? Or that remains of entire underwater cities have been discovered off the coasts of India and Egypt? Or that Apollo moon rockets were unravelled (by none other than Jeff Bezos) as recently as in 2012?
So yes, these extraordinary finds I’m talking about do exist. And yes, we are capable of finding them.
Imagine, with an expanding human population, if through gaining a better understanding of the ocean that underwater living becomes more and more feasible. House prices would drop, and the need for more land above sea level would diminish. Our homes could become aquariums!
Perhaps even more noble, recently there have been so many health benefits and medical breakthroughs related to creatures of the sea. Besides the common things we always hear about (like those fish oil tablets that we all definitely take), proteins have been found in jellyfish to help extend lives and cure sickness. There is no knowing what other leads to cures, remedies, and health enhancers there could be.
Is it really worth it?
A tough question. It’s really hard to know whether or not the possible findings would end up outweighing the hefty investments. Perhaps, with all of the issues currently happening on this planet, this ocean exploration can wait. It’s not as though the Atlantic or Pacific oceans are going anywhere anytime soon.
Maybe the technology needed is too costly, and maybe just maybe there are other feats we as a society could set out to conquer that would hold a more guaranteed end. But is anything mind-blowing necessarily easy to achieve? Not likely.
The strides in technology we could make as engineers are constantly pushed to create machines that can dive deeper and deeper into our oceans. The leaps the world of medicine could make if they were just given the tools to explore potential life-saving materials the ocean continues to offer. The history that could be made through new discoveries could change the way the children of today look at our oceans. So many possibilities lie in those murky, yet blue waters. We just have to clear them.
The ocean holds a boatload of secrets, without a doubt. But it seems as though it needs to stay that way for now. However, it only takes one person with keen curiosity and determination to explore the unknown and to make some waves.
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