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For thousands of years, humans have wondered: “What’s under the sea?” By exploring the ocean, we may discover new animals and plants, solutions to geological mysteries, or even how life first began. We can’t help but want to know what goes on down there.

The ocean is everywhere. There’s much more water to explore on Earth than land. If you went into space on a rocket ship and looked down at the Earth, you’d see a big, blue, watery ball decorated by some dark land patches. More than 1.3 trillion cubic kilometers of water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface.

Ocean exploration is a tricky, risky business since humans can’t naturally survive under the ocean. Ocean explorers are constantly inventing new tools to help them dive deep into the sea. Over the last few hundred years or so, and especially in the last few decades, we humans have come up with all kinds of new ways to study the ocean. Even so, the ocean remains largely unexplored. It’s huge, cold, salty, and deep. Ocean exploration helps us understand our planet, and may help us solve the mystery of how life started on Earth.

The Big Ideas

  • Ocean exploration is difficult because of the pressure, the cold, and the corrosive saltwater.
  • Humans develop special tools to explore the ocean.

Did You Know That?

  • Divers using SCUBA gear can’t breathe pure oxygen? At high pressure, it’s poisonous.
  • Only submarines have been to the deepest part of the oceans? The Trieste has been into the Challenger Deep, 11 kilometers straight down.
  • Oceans have hills, mountains, volcanoes, plains, and canyons?

Books of Science!

  • “Diving Into the Darkness A Submersible Explores the Sea”by Rebecca L. JohnsonLerner Publications, 1989.
  • “Divers”by Kendall McDonaldGarrett Educational, 1992.
Bill Nye