A New Age of Ocean Exploration

Recording: A New Age of Ocean Exploration, Date TBA

Through recent advances in technology we are entering into a New Age of Ocean Exploration. It has been almost 150 years since the Challenger expedition when, over a span of 4 years, over 4,500 new species of marine life were discovered. Yet we have barely scratched the surface; most of the world’s deep oceans still remain undiscovered and uncharacterized. Less than 8% of the sea floor has been mapped to a high resolution, an estimated 1.5 million marine species have not yet been discovered, and only 10% of underwater mountains have been explored. The processes that link deep ocean environments—perhaps with profound implications for the ocean ecosystem services on which we depend—are also mysteries. Meanwhile, we’ve discovered ocean worlds on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. NASA is preparing missions to Europa and Enceladus focused in part on the search for life. New technologies—some of them inspired by approaches and instruments used in deep ocean exploration—soon will be launched toward to these other ocean worlds.

We embark on our New Age of Ocean Exploration with sensors that are becoming smaller, less expensive, and more capable; advances in data synthesis and visualization that allow us to do science differently and to share results more effectively; and new and emerging communications technologies that allow both scientists and the public to participate in exploration expeditions no matter how distant—whether under the ice of Europa or in the Challenger Deep. Through these exciting developments it’s time to look at how we can use space exploration to advance our understanding of the most inaccessible parts of our own world—and vice versa. We now have the tools to inspire the public about the oceans as we are all inspired by space. This session discusses our New Age of Ocean Exploration and engages the audience in a conversation about the importance of exploring the deep ocean as we reach for other ocean worlds.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

David McKinnie

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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