An international team of scientists funded by the billionaire investor Victor Bishop recently announced that around 20% of the ocean floor has been mapped. The fact that this is heralded as a great improvement over the past reveals how much of our planet remains shrouded in the deepest mystery.
Second the team update , the project Seabed 2030 added an area nearly the size of Europe to its ocean floor map. It is actually a rather significant slowdown in the mission. The goal of Seabed 2030, in fact, is (was?) To draw the entire map of the ocean floor by 2030. The pandemic, it seems, has produced a notable shift.
Do we care so little who we are?
Given those low numbers and the slowness of the process, the priority of mapping the depths of our planet seems comically low. The momentum towards Mars, the Moon and space exploration at this time seems much greater.
To be fair, reaching and then crossing the ocean floor is an exceptionally engineering challenge - in some ways observing the Moon is much easier. Still, the ocean floor map would give scientists a formidable new tool for understanding the Earth. Given the horrors of climate change that probably await us, it seems that it should be a priority.
Ocean Bottom: Some prefer opacity
It may seem that the exploration of the seabed and the Martian or lunar surface is a false equivalence, but there are good reasons to make the mapping and study of vast and unknown areas of the oceans a higher priority. After all, we are still without a spare planet to inhabit.
There is also an “underwater” problem to consider. The mining industry is actively drilling chunks of the ocean floor, causing an unknown amount of damage to the underlying environment and potentially destroying entire ecosystems, even before they are studied by science.
If on the one hand there are interests that would like to preserve the ocean floor as a gluttonous land of conquest, therefore, on the other hand it is precisely this reason that must push us to do more, and to do it quickly.