Deep Sea ExplorationSubmitted by admin on Fri, 04/27/2012 - 16:05
I have always been fascinated with the deep sea, perhaps because it is such a counterpoint to my existence as a surfer riding just the surface of what is almost another dimension. Below that paper thin layer is one of the largest and least explored habitats on our planet. The fact that life can exist without sunlight, in what was thought to be inhospitable sulfuric conditions, and with amazing pressure that would crush surface creatures instantly thoroughly reignites my thoughts on the possibility of life on other planets and even in space itself. The fact that cellular structure, metabolism, and even enzymes and conversion of inorganic carbon to organic carbon can be altered so drastically to make life possible in such extreme conditions is simply amazing.
I think expeditions such as the Deep-water Mid-Atlantic Canyons exploration of 2011 are making huge strides in the effectiveness of future explorations. While I am most interested in lifes ability to adapt to extraordinary conditions it is the mapping and information gathering that makes everything else possible. Otherwise you really are shooting in the dark and hoping to hit a unicorn. The multibeam sonar they are using can even detect shipwrecks that can then be studied further. Very exciting for my inner treasure hunter as well as my inner marine ecologist!