Future of Ocean Exploration Charted by Science Committee
The House Science Committee invited a panel of ocean researchers and technologists to testify at a subcommittee hearing last week on their exploration goals and Congress’ role in promoting the field. Discussion focused on opportunities for decreasing the cost of exploration technology through unmanned systems, increasing partnerships with the private sector and other countries, and inspiring the public about the oceans. Witnesses advocated for setting “moonshot” goals to galvanize exploration efforts and draw young scientists into the field. Committee members asked about whether the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should increase its reliance on commercial exploration services rather than recapitalize aging exploration vessels. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said she plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s bipartisan BLUE GLOBE Act, which would direct NOAA to study how creating an Advanced Research Projects Agency–Oceans could address barriers to technology development.