A new Media Lab initiative seeks to connect humanity with ocean exploration
The world’s ocean has been one of humanity’s richest resources throughout our history, never more so than today. Indeed, our reliance on the ocean can be quantified in the starkest terms: the ocean is critical to life on earth, providing three quarters of the oxygen we breathe; supplying 20% of the average intake of animal protein to 3.1 billion people; and supporting a growing $1.5 trillion global ocean economy. Less measurable, but no less important, is the inextricable role of the ocean in shaping humanity through research, exploration, and enterprise. From merchants to poets, scientists to athletes, the ocean offers a seemingly endless supply of those things most vital to the human endeavor: challenge, mystery, inspiration, and discovery.
Despite our fundamental and eternal relationship with our ocean, we know remarkably little about it. Only 15% of the seafloor has been mapped with modern methods, and less than 5% has ever been seen by human eyes. Despite the ocean’s relevance, we only have an elementary knowledge of its role in making our planet habitable for humankind, or how to use its resources most wisely and effectively for a thriving future.