According to estimates, just 5% of the deep sea has been explored. We have only very inaccurate maps of the approximately 300 million km2 of ocean floor. We have been to the moon. Why do we know so little about our own planet?
Around 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, 70 per cent of our oxygen is produced by plants in water and 70 per cent of the world’s population lives in coastal regions. The sea is therefore not only one of the most important ecosystems on earth, but also plays a decisive role in the lives of many people. It therefore seems downright absurd that we know less about the ocean, the “blue lung” of our planet, than we do about the moon.
In the 19th century, it was even assumed that the deep sea was completely inanimate, because above a certain water depth, it was simply no longer possible to detect animals using earlier methods. Today we know that the deep sea is characterized by an incredible diversity of species that can easily keep up with the rainforests.
Current issues such as overfishing, littering and climate change should be reason enough to push marine research further. But one very important reason should not be forgotten: The ocean is a treasure trove and overflowing with natural resources.
The Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean is the deepest point on earth. It lies at 11 km below sea level and is about 2400 km long.