We have questions.

Sub Standard

Somehow, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has found a way to be involved in the ongoing missing submarine debacle because, as tweets posted earlier this month reveal, its owners were using SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet for communications.

"Despite being in the middle of the North Atlantic, we have the internet connection we need to make our dive operations a success — thank you Starlink!" OceanGate Expeditions, the company that operates the lost submarine, tweeted earlier this month.

The "Cyclops-class" deep-sea submersible called Titan, which has a crew of five on board, is currently out of contact with the Polar Prince, the vessel deployed to support and communicate with it.

While a later tweet from Starlink confirmed that SpaceX partnered with OceanGate, it's still unclear if only the Polar Prince or both the ship and the Titan are making use of the internet service. CBS News is reporting that OceanGate is using Starlink to "maintain communication with the submersible craft as it journeyed toward the Titanic wreckage."

Users on Twitter piled on, mocking SpaceX and Starlink. Others, however, argued that Starlink likely wasn't being used for navigation of the submarine itself and therefore wasn't to blame.

In a statement to Futurism, OceanGate said that "we are unable to provide any additional information at this time."

Get to the Bottom

If you're confused about how you could possibly get a signal miles below the surface of the ocean, you're not alone. Ordinary radio signals simply can't propagate any significant distance through water.

Back in 2014, Wired reported that there were startups focused on bringing the internet to submarines by focusing on using pulses of sound instead of relying on radio waves.

In 2021, the Naval Post noted that while there is rudimentary internet access in the deep blue, there's still a lot more research to be done to make it reliable, let alone secure.

In short, submarines can technically be hooked up to the internet, but by all indications, it's not an easy feat, especially at Starlink's high radio frequencies.

It's important to note that there's still a lot we don't know about the missing submarine.

As of right now, there's no indication that Starlink is to blame for the Titan losing communication with the Polar Prince. On the contrary, Starlink could be the reason why we even know about the missing submarine in the first place.

Updated with comment from OceanGate.

More on this Titan-sized trouble: The Missing Titanic Submarine Seems Extremely Janky

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