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Even though 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by the ocean we roughly know about 5 percent to 7 percent since recent expeditions somehow failed to properly map the sea floor. Scientists noted that we hold more accurate maps of the moon than we do with the sea floor. This is why the nonprofit group XPRIZE launches $7 million bid for unprecedented deep-sea exploration.
XPRIZE, which has showed a vivid interest in any public competition that can make our planet a better place in recent years, will open the ocean challenge to all scientists and hobbyists out there.
The competition, whose main goal is an accurate map of the sea floor, is slated to last three years. The winners will be awarded the $7 million prize and the rank of “XPRIZE Winner.” Organizers hope that their bid would improve technologies for deep sea exploration.
Jyotika Virmani, the senior director of the nonprofit, noted that the competition is challenging for at least two reasons. First, competitors would have to come up with new ideas and technologies to map the ocean floor. Second, they would also have to gather teams of scientists and experts from various fields as the challenge was designed to be highly interdisciplinary.
Virmani added that XPRIZE is open to any type of approach as long it can serve the competition’s purposes. Participants would be required to fulfill various tasks such as building a high resolution map of the seabed, operating devices at depths of up to 13,000 feet, spotting specific targets on sea floor like in a treasure hunt quest, and producing high-res imagery of certain targets.
Moreover, the team that manages to design a device that can ‘sniff out’ certain biological and chemical markers in water gets a $1 million bonus.
The $7 million purse is part of a larger project called ‘Ocean Initiative.’ The initiative is made of five multi-million-dollar challenges designed to improve the health of oceans, make them more accessible to the public, and solve challenges they currently face. The latest contest is the third in a series slated to end by 2020. The previous challenges focused on reducing pollution by finding technologies that can accurately detect the ocean’s pH and clean oil spills.
XPRIZE unveiled the $7 million contest during the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the nonprofit, the Shell Oil Company, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Image Source: Wikimedia