Bob Ballard calls for ocean colonization

Most of this video is familiar history to me, but the last 10 minutes held some surprises for me.  First, the U.S. Government is now funding a new ocean Explorer program and dedicated ship, though it’s still poignant that the NASA budget for outer space exploration is 1600 times the NOAA budget for inner space (ocean) exploration.

Ballard's ocean habitat

Second, he posed a question I’ve never heard an ocean leader pose: “Why are we not looking at moving out onto the sea?”  While showing a schematic of a (hypothetical?) ocean habitat in a giant spar buoy, he goes on:

“Why do we have programs to build a habitation on Mars and we have programs to look at colonizing the moon, but we do not have a program looking at how we colonize our own planet?  And the technology is at hand!”

Perhaps it is time to learn how to live in the ocean right here in the Pacific Northwest?  What could we learn if the Salish Sea had a sea floor observatory?  Would it be valuable for research or education to have a human habitat underwater at  the Friday Harbor Labs or Lime Kiln State Park?  Or can the same value be gained through virtual presence: enhancement of the underwater sensors at Race Rocks, the Seahurst Observatory, and the fledgling Ocean Observing Initiative’s Northwest regional expression, like the Venus line.

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