Exploring the Deep Ocean
Throughout human history, exploration has always driven our progress. Lief Ericson’s journey to North America (1001 AD), Magellan’s first circumnavigation (1519), the first human journeys to the South Pole (1910), to the summit of Everest (1953) to the deepest point in our ocean (1960) and to the moon (1969) have all pushed back the frontiers of our knowledge, unlocking immense opportunity and changing our relationship to our planet and ourselves.
But since 1969, we’ve been looking up when we should have been looking down. The most important part of our planet, the deep ocean, remains the least known part of our planet. And this is clearly not very sensible.
The ocean is the heart of our planet. It’s 99% of the planet’s biosphere, regulates our atmosphere and climate and produces 50% of the oxygen we breath. It captures heat and carbon dioxide which dramatically reduces global warming and provides a primary source of protein for 3 billion people. The problem is that we don’t know how the deep ocean functions, how healthy it is and how resilient it is.
The ocean remains the last great unknown frontier on our planet. We’ve only biologically sampled 0.0001% and mapped an area equivalent the size of Tasmania to the same kind of detail that we have mapped the entire orbs of the Moon and Mars.
We know we need a healthy ocean to continue life as we know it. It’s undergoing its most severe disruption for at least 250 million years. Its acidity has increased 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution. We’ve lost at least 27% of our coral reefs in the last 50 years and the majority of our global fish stocks are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion and there are thought to be at least 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.
Something needs to change and fast. The Apollo Missions, polar exploration, Jacques Cousteau’s adventures, even Felix Baumgartner’s space jump captivated the world with their human drama, battles against adversity, and above all, the unknown. The manned exploration of the deep ocean, the last, great unknown frontier on Planet Earth is next epic story of human endeavor that can inspire humanity to change course.
The shuttles on this odyssey are a new breed of submersibles with transparent acrylic pressure hulls that give a revolutionary new perspective for research. Scientists can now have unprecedented direct observation of the environments they study. The other really magical thing about these subs is that we can now witness people in the deep. And that one thing creates the vital human link that can change our relationship with the ocean forever.
To immerse yourselves in the experience of taking a submersible dive, we have just launched our first 360 VR mini-documentary filmed during our first Mission – the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey – in Bermuda. Please do check it out – https://youtu.be/NlPN9Ox_MIk
To words of wisdom from Edmund Hillary, who with Tensing Norgay became the first people to summit Everest. “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves’, he said.’ People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.’
Kensington Tours have decided to do the extraordinary thing and join Nekton as the Launch Partner for our next Missions to the Indian Ocean. As the deep ocean is a critical frontier for climate stabilization, planetary chemistry, marine and medical research, technology, genetics and resources, and probably even for understanding the origins of life, it also represents an immense untapped potential for tourism. At first it will be the fortunate few engaged as active Mission participants, a unique and exclusive experience mixing genuine frontline exploration with citizen science. Every person that I have ever met that has been lucky enough to journey down in a submersible to witness and experience life in our planet’s largest but least known ecosystem, has always been profoundly affected. They will be journeys that change the life.
We are now beginning a long journey with unique opportunities and a profound shared purpose to engage the world with a new inspiring story of the next great odyssey of human exploration and pioneering progression. As millions can now enter the great parks and wildernesses and experience the wonder of planet Earth – the same, one day will be true of planet Ocean. As Cousteau, Sir David Attenborough and others have said: ‘People protect what they love’. But people cannot protect what they do not know. These are the quests of our exploration.
Together we are truly entering the unknown. It will be exploration at its purest. It will be an adventure. There will be challenges and there will be immense benefits. We have a shared and common purpose to explore the deep ocean to unlock knowledge and opportunity to drive our progress. We, Nekton (the aquatic animals that swim against the current) are hugely proud that we will be taking this journey hand in hand with Kensington Tours.
Founder, Chief Executive, Mission Director, Nekton