NOAA's Seirios camera platform images the Little Hercules remotely operated vehicle during a seafloor encounter with a skate in the Gulf of Mexico. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.
Ocean exploration is about making new discoveries, searching for things that are unusual and unexpected.
Although it involves the search for things yet unknown, ocean exploration is disciplined and systematic. It includes rigorous observations and documentation of biological, chemical, physical, geological, and archaeological aspects of the ocean.
Findings made through ocean exploration expand our fundamental scientific knowledge and understanding, helping to lay the foundation for more detailed, hypothesis-based scientific investigations.
While new discoveries are always exciting to scientists, information from ocean exploration is important to everyone. Unlocking the mysteries of deep-sea ecosystems can reveal new sources for medical drugs, food, energy resources, and other products. Information from deep-ocean exploration can help predict earthquakes and tsunamis and help us understand how we are affecting and being affected by changes in Earth’s climate and atmosphere. Expeditions to the unexplored ocean can help focus research into critical geographic and subject areas that are likely to produce tangible benefits.
Ocean exploration can improve ocean literacy and inspire new generations of youth to seek careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The challenges of exploring the deep ocean can provide the basis for problem-solving instruction in technology and engineering that can be applied in other situations.
Exploration leaves a legacy of new knowledge that can be used by those not yet born to answer questions not yet posed at the time of exploration.
The Ocean Explorer website chronicles ocean explorations co-funded by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, explains the tools and technology used during these explorations, and provides opportunities for people of all ages to expand their understanding of the ocean environment.
Scientists, policy makers, and others interested in learning more about the “business” behind the science presented on this site are encouraged to visit the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research website.