We have mapped the surface of the Moon at a resolution of 328 feet. We have mapped the surface of Mars. Yet, here on Earth, 95 percent of the deep seas remain a mystery to us. Put another way, that’s two thirds of the entire solid surface of the planet. The health of the oceans is critical to our species’ survival, because of its role in climate change, as a source of food, and as a potential source of energy.
The XPRIZE Oceans Initiative aims to put us “on an unstoppable path toward healthy, valued, and understood oceans,” says Jyotika Virmani, Senior Director for Prize Operations at XPRIZE. The organization is a non-profit headquartered in Los Angeles that awards cash prizes in the millions of dollars to teams that develop innovative solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing humanity, in five areas: exploration, global development, energy and environment, learning, and life sciences.
The goal of the first XPRIZE, launched in 1996, was to kick-start the private space flight industry. The foundation is currently operating seven XPRIZE competitions, including the $30,000,000 Google Lunar XPRIZE, with the goal of launching a robot to the Moon that will traverse 500 meters and return video and photography images from the Moon. The long-term goal of this prize is to develop the technology that we will need as humanity to move off of Earth.
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