X Prize Announces Global Competition That Seeks To Map The Seafloor

12. 16. 15 by June Javelosa
Under the Sea

here is a lot of exploration left to do on Earth. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we have explored less than five percent of the ocean. If you aren’t aware, the ocean covers some 70% of our planet. That is a lot of unexplored territory.

But we are working to change that.

CEO and Chairman of X Prize, Peter Diamandis, has announced their Shell Ocean Discover X Prize—a three year global competition that hopes to map out the Earth’s unexplored frontiers.

“Our oceans cover two-thirds of our planet’s surface and are a crucial global source of food, energy, economic security and even the air we breathe, yet 95 percent of the deep sea remains a mystery to us,” Diamandis said. “Right now, researchers have better maps of Mars than they do of Earth’s seafloor.”


For anyone interested in joining the competition, researchers will be required to create an autonomous vehicle equipped with technology that will allow it to create high-resolution maps of the seafloor at depths of about 4,000 meters as well as take images of biological, geological and archaeological objects.

The winning team will win a staggering $4 million, while second prize winners will take home $1 million.

Underwater Exploration

The contest has a nine month registration window and gives participants one year to begin development of their underwater vehicles, that has to undergo two rounds of comprehensive testing. The initiative is designed to spur the invention of technologies that can make significant strides in the study of the ocean floor.

Take a moment to learn about some of the things that we do know about our oceans in this National Geographic documentary featuring David Attenborough. Meet our Desert Seas…


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