Why Go To Mars If We Haven’t Even Colonized Our Own Oceans?
Right now in history, major private space industry players like SpaceX are investing millions, even billions of dollars, into projects aimed at permanently relocating humanity into space. It’s a grand and wondrous dream, one that has rightly captured our species’ imagination for thousands of years, propelling us toward exploration and the quest for other forms of life.
All of this is magnificent and commendable, but if scientific curiosity is truly driving us, why don’t we realize that right here, just a stone’s throw away, on this very planet, there’s an equally mysterious world to explore beyond the Earth’s surface? What is that world? Well, it’s the ocean depths!
Isn’t it strange? Continents are teeming with human beings – currently over seven billion and rapidly increasing. Yet, even more surprisingly, despite all our technological prowess, humanity persists in crowding itself onto dry land, which constitutes just 29% of the planet’s surface.
The rest is dominated by seas and oceans, where the permanent human population is precisely zero. Why? How can this be?
We have detailed maps with resolutions down to less than a meter for distant worlds like the Moon and Mars, yet all we know about the ocean depths is represented with a resolution in kilometers. Is that not surprising?
Perhaps not when we consider that there have been 12 men who have walked on the Moon compared to just 3 who have reached the deepest point of our oceans, the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 11,000 meters.
Of course, we can’t use satellites to scan the seafloor because water is opaque to electromagnetic radiation. We need different, slower approaches like sonar. Still, it’s a fact that even today, less than 5% of the oceans have been mapped with a resolution finer than 100 meters. But it’s not just a matter of geology. We also know practically nothing about the creatures inhabiting these ocean depths.
Biologists estimate that after a thousand meters in depth, there may be at least 750,000 animal species yet to be discovered, many of them of considerable size.
It’s almost certain that many of these species will go extinct before they are ever discovered. Yet, undeterred, we persist in seeking life among the stars
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