Deep sea scientists have called for the establishment of an ocean version of Nasa to combat historic lows in marine science funding.
By Philippa Warr
Marine biologists Craig McClain and Alistair Dove made the argument on the Deep Sea News website, explaining that the organisation would provide broader benefits to society as well as research opportunities: “There is much to be gained from creating Nasa-style Ocean Science and Exploration Agency (Osea). Every dollar we commit to science returns $2.21 in goods and services.”
McClain continues: “Our nation faces a pivotal moment in exploration of the oceans. The most remote regions of the deep oceans should be more accessible now than ever due to engineering and technological advances. What limits our exploration of the oceans is not imagination or technology but funding. We as a society started to make a choice: to deprioritise ocean exploration and science.”
The main argument for a different approach to the way we organise ocean exploration is financial. Organisations currently compete for funding in a way that Nasa doesn’t have to — something the scientists attribute to the space program’s early establishment as a vehicle for establishing and maintaining international space supremacy.
McClain and Dove propose Osea, an organisation dedicated to research and exploration of the more than 90 percent of oceans remaining unexplored and providing “multiple opportunities for anyone to be involved including the public.”