The planet’s deepest oceanic trench is 35,876 feet, or about 7 miles, deep. It is known as the Mariana Trench and is located southwest of Guam in a desolate area of the Pacific Ocean.
A few submersible divers have reached the bottom, but due to oxygen deprivation and deep-sea pressure, they have only been able to conduct brief explorations.
According to a deep-sea oceanographer and expedition leader at the University of Rhode Island, the amount of time a person may survive in such a small space without food, drink, or oxygen is still quite limited.
It’s a huge pool of water, and for many explorers, it represents the final uncharted territory. Since the oceans make up around 70% of the Earth’s surface, it is not surprising that humans have just begun to search about how much of the ocean has been explored. Only around 5 % of the sea floor has so far been seen to human eyes.
How much of the ocean is still unexplored?
For decades and decades humans are wondering how much of the ocean has been explored. The truth is only a tiny portion of the world’s seas have been investigated thus far, despite the fact that humans have extensively explored and charted significant portions of the moon and Mars in outer space. It is believed that just 5% of the ocean floor has been successfully explored by mankind. There is still uncertainty about the remaining 95% of the ocean.
Why is exploring the deep water such a tough endeavor, believed by some specialists to be more challenging than exploring things in space? In actuality, more men have walked on the moon than have dove into the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, one of the world’s deepest oceanic regions. Keep reading to know the reason behind the less number behind how much of the ocean has been explored.
Ocean exploration obstacles
Exploring the ocean is a hard and costly thing. Scientists have been trying to explore the ocean for many years to find out how much of the ocean has been explored. For thousands of hours at a time without needing maintenance, robots made for deep-sea ocean research must be able to survive the extreme pressure that comes with depth, as well as the corrosive effects of seawater.
To reach a goal depth and then investigate the surroundings might take a submersible many hours. All underwater robots must be developed to be independent in a range of situations due to the length of time a submersible must stay underwater in order to find the answer of how much of the ocean has been explored.
Human-operated vehicles (HOVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and autonomous underwater vehicles are the three primary types of robots used to explore the deep ocean (AUVs).
While ROVs are operated remotely by people, usually from a ship at the surface, HOVs are submersibles with people on board. On the other hand, AUVs are intended to be fully autonomous and explore the ocean using pre-planned missions. After each mission is finished, the AUV returns to the surface for retrieval, at which point researchers can analyze the data the AUV gathered while traveling.
Research institutions are using a ROV to scout a region before sending an HOV to make the most of the few time divers can spend at depth in an HOV. The HOV’s mission is informed by the initial data the ROV gathered, increasing the chance for discovery within the HOV’s limited dive window.
The chemical composition of seawater causes electrochemical processes that can damage metals. Deep-sea robots must be able to endure the corrosive qualities of saltwater in addition to taking into account severe pressure and lengthy dive periods. Most modern submersibles employ polymers to provide a barrier between their metal construction and the ocean in order to prevent corrosion.
The depth of the ocean is typically 12,100 feet. The weight of the saltwater above causes pressure at this level that is more than 300 times greater than what humans perceive at the ocean’s top. The pressure is more than 1,000 times greater than the pressure at the ocean’s surface at the deepest point, which is around 36,000 feet below the surface. You must know about the ocean’s pressure if you are wondering about how much of the ocean has been explored.
Underwater exploration equipment needs to be built to resist the extreme pressure of the deep sea. However, these hulls can weigh up to a third of the submersible’s overall weight, which restricts the machine’s capabilities. People have been unable to know how much of the ocean has been explored until recently because of a number of obstacles, including the tremendous pressure in the deep ocean.
Will the entire ocean ever be explored?
We continue to discover more about the ocean and how much of the ocean has been explored as time goes on. We can estimate the number of species that exist underwater (between 700,000 and a million, with nearly 2,000 new species being recognized by scientists each year) and how much of the world’s seafloor has been mapped (and how much is still to be mapped), but we’ll never be able to determine the precise amount of unexplored territory.
This is due to the fact that Earth’s seas are growing and changing more quickly than people can physically keep up with. What will eventually hold us back is our incapacity to dive to the ocean’s bottom (at least for the time being). The answer of how much of the ocean has been explored is seriously hampered by two real challenges: air pressure and a lack of sunshine.
Much of our seas will remain undiscovered until technology advances to the point where these impediments may be avoided or made less of a problem.
Upcoming ocean exploration technologies
A switch in technology from satellite to sonar detection is currently needed to find out how much of the ocean has been explored. Modern sonar detection systems can create maps of the ocean floor with resolutions of around 100 meters.
Using this technology 10% to 15% of the ocean floor has been mapped. However, to detect objects and features on the seafloor to even greater resolutions, sonar detection needs to be carried out from a closer distance to the seabed.
It’s important to differentiate between the ocean’s surface and its floor while discussing how much of the ocean has been explored. We have exploited our vast water reserves and the ocean’s surface to sail in order to discover and conquer new areas over the years.
But there is still a lot to learn about our seas, especially what lurks below the surface. We still have a long way to go before we can fully appreciate the potential of the ocean and the complete ecosystems that live in these enormous bodies of water, despite the fact that technology is developing and certain estimations can be made.
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