The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface. But apart from how wide it is, the ocean also has staggering depths — the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench has a depth of nearly 10,000 meters below sea level. So how do scientists explore such a gargantuan area?
If people cannot explore the ocean themselves, why not allow machines to do so? There are remotely operated vehicles (ROV) designed to withstand the many elements in the ocean. Usually, they are built to continue operating even at pressure levels that no human being can tolerate.
An ROV isn’t exactly the most affordable option, but it’s guaranteed to help you know more about the ocean in a safe and effective manner. Plus, there are always research grants and other sources of funding that can help even small organizations acquire their own ROV.
In fact, the future of using an ROV doesn’t seem so financially daunting. Sofar is a company dedicated to creating the best equipment for ocean monitoring and conservation efforts. And while some ROVs can easily go beyond $30,000, Sofar’s scratch-proof Trident Underwater Drone starts at just $1,695.
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One unnerving yet amazing fact is that people have yet to discover all the living creatures in the ocean. And while some scientists can only observe unknown species through looking, there are those who opt to gather specimens. But how can one collect a creature in such an area?
Researchers cannot just use their hands; the fish can easily slip out. Plus, they don’t know how dangerous the sea creatures can be. They may contain poison or any dangerous defensive mechanisms. And the standard robotic arms may apply too much pressure and kill the specimen.
Thus, it’s important to have the so-called soft grippers attached to the vehicles or robots. These features utilize memory foam — ensuring that the specimen is caught without harming it. The grippers cannot work in the deepest parts of the ocean, but it should prove useful up to a depth of a thousand feet.
Ocean exploration allows us to understand just how grand the world is — that it’s not just humans and land creatures that occupy the planet. And with continued innovations in technology, humanity will further unravel more of the deep.