Did You Know?

We know more about the surfaces of Mars and Venus than we do about the ocean floor.

We know more about the surfaces of Mars and Venus than we do about the ocean floor.

Although nothing lives there, Mars, the Moon and Venus are better mapped (at about 100m x 100m resolution) than the seafloor, which is home to many of the 90% of a possible two million species in the ocean yet to be described—and along with them valuable novel marine genetic resources. It is often said that you cannot manage what you cannot measure, but equally the case is that you do not measure what you do not value.

So beginning to measure and map the ocean is vital. The Seabed 2030 programme estimates it would take one survey ship 1,000 years to map the ocean to the same resolution as Mars. With concerted international effort of tens of ships, combined with swarms of autonomous underwater vehicles, this is achievable. Estimates say it would cost $3 billion to map the ocean floor—or about the same as a single Mars mission.


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