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Why does humanity focus and research space more than the ocean?
Question Date: 2017-08-24
Answer 1:

Space vs Ocean. I can list a couple of reasons why we focused more on space instead of the ocean in our history.

1) Accessibility. Like most animals on Earth, when we open our eyes, we realize that the sun is shining during the day and that the moon and stars provide light during the night. Though we knew little about them in ancient times, there is no doubt that we knew of their existence. However, for the ocean, only those living close to the ocean could appreciate its beauty. We now have been exposed to both of them because of our education, but in our long history, the outer space has been "more accessible".

2) Importance, Research difficulty, and cost. There is no doubt that the ocean is very important to our survival. We get a lot of food from our ocean and ship a lot of stuff through our ocean. However, to a certain degree, it is much easier to study pace. Basically, if the weather is good, we can study them anytime and almost everywhere. We can observe stars that are very far away with the naked eye. But this is not true for ocean exploration. You need to get to the ocean first. Then you realize you can only see the surface. You can dive into the ocean, but probably only a few meters deep and still hard to see anything. With the modern instruments it is easier to explore the sea, but still it is more and more expensive to explore the deep ocean due to the lightning and pressure under water. Although modern space exploration is getting more expensive, in our long history, the observation of outer space has cost much less./p>

3) Research content: Though there are probably many unknown creatures in the deep ocean, this is not comparable to outer space. One might expect alien creatures or large scale phenomena (say black holes, neutron stars). To me, it is far richer to explore outer space; we know little about what is very far away from us and we can expect to learn a lot more.

4) Research significance. We can spend millions and millions to explore the sea, sample more exotic creatures and explore a lot more natural resources in the ocean, but still the significance is very limited. This is not true for outer space exploration. We can potentially find another planet in case some catastrophic event occurs. And most importantly, space exploration can shape our understanding of the universe in a fundamental level. The first example that came into my mind is related to the recent solar eclipse (current date is August 2017): In 1919, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was verified during the solar eclipse. This was a fundamental victory of Einstein's new concept of space and time. There was another big event in the physics community in 2016: the first observation of gravitational waves. It was another verification of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and those who lead the discovery might get the Nobel Prize this year.

There are many mysteries and questions that should be answered, such as: What is space and time? Is Einstein's theory the end? What is our universe? I can list tons of big questions and they are tough to answer. Human civilization will uncover these mysteries in the future. The ocean is big, but compared to outer space, it is small; so is the research significance when you compare ocean and space.


Answer 2:

I'm not sure that is true - a great deal of research is done on the ocean, probably more than space, actually (it's difficult to get to space, but not to get to the ocean).

Space exploration is more exciting for many people, probably thanks to movies like Star Wars, etc., which is possibly why so much focus is made on it.

Maybe you should write EON studios (the producers of the James Bond franchise) and tell them to remake The Spy Who Loved Me, which takes place in the ocean...

Answer 3:

I think the simple answer is that we have NASA - the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - that wants to do space research, and they get about $18 billion per year.

It was pretty cool, watching the first person step onto the moon, on our old black and white TV, but now the NASA news isn't so exciting.


NASA budget 2017

NASA was founded in 1958.

The oceans only have NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - and they have to share their Administration with the atmosphere. But that's not such bad news, because the atmosphere and the oceans sit next to each other on earth, so they affect each other - CO2 in the atmosphere goes into the ocean, for example. NOAA only gets about $5 billion per year.

When you think about all the oceans and all the atmosphere, that's a pretty big disadvantage for NOAA, as opposed to NASA, which doesn't have so much urgent stuff to do and can spend so much more $$ on trying to convince us about how 'cool' they are.

NOAA was founded in 1970.

Those are my opinions; NASA would disagree with me!

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