We’ve mapped less than 10 percent of the ocean with the resolution we’ve mapped 100 percent of the Moon and Mars, and yet when we send rovers to Mars what’s the first sign of life they probe for? Water. David Gallo’s ‘Underwater Astonishments’ reminds us of how little we know about our own blue marble planet and the 97 percent of its livable habitat that is saltwater. Remember that we air-breathing terrestrials only inhabit about 300 feet of space from prairie dog burrows to the tops of the trees where birds nest. Above that is only heaven and space. Hundreds of people have now gone into space, calling it “the last frontier,” but last year Jim Cameron became only the third human being ever to reach the lowest point on our planet, seven miles down in the Pacific’s Challenger Deep. Here in the early 21st century we’re just beginning to fully discover our ocean planet’s unique alien creatures and habitats like walking sharks and vampire squid and deep-sea coral gardens and hydrothermal vents and seeps awash with life even as we put them at risk. Every time I go diving I discover something new and wondrous, and too often signs of human disruption.
About David Helvarg
David Helvarg is Executive Director of Blue Frontier and the author of six books.
An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Popular Science, Sierra, and Parade. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He has led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC.
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