Exploration Tools

Today’s technologies allow us to explore the ocean in increasingly systematic, scientific, and noninvasive ways. With continuing scientific and technological advances, our ability to observe the ocean environment and its resident creatures is beginning to catch up with our imaginations, expanding our understanding and appreciation of this still largely unexplored realm.

This section highlights some of the technologies that make exploration possible today and the scientific achievements that result from this exploration. Technologies include platforms such as vessels and submersibles, observing systems and sensors, communication technologies, and diving technologies that transport us across ocean waters and into the depths and allow us to scientifically examine, record, and analyze the mysteries of the ocean.

 

Observation Platforms

Vessels

Vessels

From onboard equipment to collect weather and ocean information to divers, submersibles, and other observations deployed from a ship, vessels are arguably the most critical tool for scientists when it comes to exploring the ocean.

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Submersibles

Submersibles

Darkness, cold, and crushing pressures have challenged the most experienced engineers to develop submersibles that descend to seafloor depths that are not safe for divers, allowing us to explore the deep ocean firsthand, make detailed observations, and collect samples of unexplored ecosystems.

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Observation Technology

Systems & Sensors

Systems & Sensors

Scientists rely on an array of tools to collect weather and ocean observations such as water temperatures and salinities, the shape of the seafloor, and the speed of currents. Using tools to record and monitor water column conditions and to collect samples for analyses allows scientists to enhance our understanding of the ocean.

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Communication Technologies

Communication Technologies

Technologies that allow scientists to collaborate and transmit data more quickly and to a greater number of users are changing the way that we explore. From telepresence to shipboard computers, these technologies are increasing the pace, efficiency, and scope of ocean exploration.

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Diving Technologies

Diving Technologies

When depths are not too great or conditions are not too unsafe, divers can descend into the water to explore the ocean realm. It is only through relatively recent advances in technology that this type of exploration has been possible.

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