NOAA Ocean Explorer is an educational Internet offering for all who wish to learn about, discover, and virtually explore the ocean realm. It provides public access to current information on a series of NOAA scientific and educational explorations and activities in the marine environment. The site provides a platform to follow explorations in near real-time, learn about exploration technologies, observe remote marine flora and fauna in the colorful multimedia gallery, read about NOAA’s 200-year history of ocean exploration, and discover additional NOAA resources in a virtual library.

The site offers several categories of content. In Explorations, visitors can follow a series of featured NOAA ocean expeditions that will describe a rich array of exploration activities. Projects provides information on related exploration activities and events. The Gallery contains a colorful offering of images, audio and video. The Technology section offers descriptions and photos of the various technologies used in ocean exploration. In the History pages, you can trace NOAA's 200-year history of ocean exploration and that of its forerunners. Visitors will be able to locate additional information and reference material regarding NOAA ocean exploration in the Library. The Education section provides direct access to standards-based lesson plans and professional development opportunities for educators. About Ocean Explorer provides a description of the Web site.

The site is built with contributions from a broad range of authors, including marine scientists, resource managers, educators, students, historians, artists, musicians, creative writers, policymakers, and others.

About Ocean Exploration

The United States is a country of explorers. Dating back to the days of colonization and our westward expansion, our nation has been driven by a profound thirst for knowledge and new discovery. It is with this vigor that we face the difficult task of exploring our final frontier, the oceans.

Over the past few decades we have significantly increased our understanding of the oceans. Advances in ocean exploration technology have revolutionized the way we explore them. We are increasingly aware of our dependence on the oceans for healthy fisheries, clean habitats, and the potential to discover new medicines and answer questions about global climate. Yet, 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored.

To meet this exciting challenge, a multidisciplinary panel of experts was convened to provide a national plan for ocean exploration. The panel accomplished this goal, and in October 2000 released “Discovering Earth’s Final Frontier A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration.” From this document, the Ocean Exploration Initiative was born.

As the lead federal agency for the initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has many areas of focus. One of them is to reach out in new ways to the public to share what we know and what are discovering about the oceans. The NOAA Ocean Explorer Web site will serve as one of those communication vehicles and will provide the public with information on many of NOAA's major ocean exploration efforts.