Originally Posted by Finn
It's also the reason why I often surprise myself glancing upwards on a clear, cloudless night. It'll very likely be nothing but a pipe dream in my lifetime, but I do hope that we'll get there eventually. If we don't, the fate of our species might just be to remain here and die - do we really have an explorer gene or not.
There was something longer here originally, but I deleted it in favor of this: As a species we have taken definite steps towards a full fledged space program. Those steps may be hesitant and often contentious, but we are moving forward. Yet, despite this we ignore that massive amount of liquid space that surrounds us all except as a trashcan or a toilet. There's all this attention focused on space (thanks, Cosmos), but the ocean remains virtually unexplored.
Part of it lies in the fact that the ocean is a cruel, unfeeling mistress. SCUBA only scratches the surface, and current submersibles are limited largely by the x-y axis. Fortunately for us, legendary submersible designer Graham Hawkes has taken a significant step towards opening the ocean's depths for the individual and smaller organizations with his hydrobatic craft designs.
Dig this "sizzle reel" from the fine folks at Hawkes Ocean Technologies & GoPro. Shot on location in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
That fantastic looking torpedo with wings is the Super Falcon Mark II. It has a cruising speed of 2-6 knots, and can operate safely for about twelve hours at a depth of 120 meters, about 400 feet. It might not sound like much at first, but you need to take into account that the world record for SCUBA diving is 205 meters, and they only lasted about six minutes at that depth.
With further advances in technology, we should get something that can comfortably explore that middle part of the ocean, the disphotic zone. It receives a minimum amount of light, but this is where a lot of the really, really cool animals dwell.
Got some more time? Check out his talk from the 2012 CUSP Conference in Chicago.
Got some more time? Check out Mr. Hawkes' talk from 2010 with Google's Tech Talk. (Who I am sure will then try to own the ocean.)
Link: Deep Flight
For my money, this is by far one of the coolest things happening in the Bay Area that you don't hear about.