NASA-style Mission Needed to Map Ocean Floor
Ocean experts have called for international action to generate the kinds of maps of global seabeds that space missions have already returned for the Moon and Mars.
The call to "map the gaps" comes from GEBCO, the General Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean, a body first set up in 1903 to compile maps from naval surveys around the world.
But more than a century on from the first international charts, vast expanses of the ocean are still represented by just a single point where an ancient mariner threw a lead-weighted rope over the ship side.
Only 5% of the seafloor has been mapped by modern methods. Even around the UK, a nation with a long maritime history, almost a third of the coast is unsurveyed. The entire Moon, in contrast, is known to a resolution of 7m, thanks to satellite mapping.
"It's a matter of commitment," complains Larry Mayer, director of the Center for Marine Science and Coastal Engineering at the University of New Hampshire, a world-leading centre of oceanographic expertise.
To read the full article please click here.