Why We Should Explore the Sea

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Remember Bob Ballard? He's the geophysicist who discovered the wrecks of the Titanic, Bismarck, Yorktown, and JFK's PT-109 (among other interesting deep-sea explorations). When I was a kid, I was way into Ballard's JASON Project, a distance-education program in which students participated in videoconferences with Ballard and his crew, learning about scientific exploration through the lens of Ballard's various undersea adventures.

In 2008, Ballard gave an impassioned TED Talk about exploring the oceans, arguing that we should make ocean exploration a priority -- we explore space, why not explore our own planet? I remember Ballard saying, nearly twenty years ago, that Star Trek's treatment of space as the "final frontier" was incorrect. The final frontier is all around us, in the oceans. There's a lot of cool stuff down there. Maybe we should go check it out.

Discussed: in Ballard's school days, the laws of geology were "a bunch of crap"; looking for something and finding something different; most of the Southern Hemisphere is unexplored; we're leaving 72% of the planet (the oceans) unused; almost a quarter of our planet is a single mountain range, which we never visited until after putting a man on the moon; crazy stuff Ballard found undersea; really really old shipwrecks; Ballard's new mission for discovery.

Read more about Bob Ballard at Wikipedia.

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June 10, 2009 - 12:40pm
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