Deep Hope

Chukchi AW51069You can help support Deep HOPE and become an ocean explorer, and discover deep blue places where no one has gone before.

Consider this: Although the ocean is vital for human life support, the combination of pressure, temperature and darkness in the deep sea have left it largely unexplored below diver depths. Though much of the ocean floor has been mapped, it is to a gross resolution of five kilometres - meaning we can only see features larger than five kilometres. We have better maps of the moon and of Mars than we do of the floor of our ocean.

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"Water covers nearly 71% OF EARTH, yet we know more about deep space than the deep ocean. THE OCEAN IS ALIVE, space is not."  - Dr Sylvia Earle.

Only 0.05% of the ocean has been mapped with the highest resolution sonar. By comparison, we can see every recess and crevice of the moon and Mars! Our technology has made outer space seem easier to explore than our own planet's deep oceans. Engineering systems for space are complex, but overcoming the crushing pressures of the deep sea is equally daunting. At a full ocean depth of 11 kilometres, the pressure has been compared to holding 50 Airbus 380 aircrafts on the palm of a hand.

As SCUBA divers know, every dive reveals new experiences. The more time spent on a reef, the more new things are seen. We know that in the ocean, life is found all the way from the surface to the very bottom of the deepest zone. Yet, as divers, we are physiologically limited by pressure and temperature. Even the most elite divers rarely exceed depths greater than 100 metres, and the vast majority of dives are in less than 30 metres. With climate change, and other human impacts, the need for ocean exploration and conservation is more urgent than ever before.

Access to depths greater than 500 metres is only possible with a handful of research submersibles and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles). These vehicles are mainly operated by the oil and gas industry or advanced ocean institutes. Even the most highly qualified oceanographers and scientists have to pitch to use them, and if successful, their hard-fought access typically comes with a two to five-year wait.

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The Deep HOPE project, initiated by the legendary Her Deepness, Dr Sylvia Earle, aims to change all that. For nearly six decades, Dr Earle has devoted her life to the exploration of the ocean's depths. Her endeavour has been to discover the secrets of the ocean, and its inhabitants as well as its crucial functions for our planet's survival. Dr Earle strives to share this information with scientists, the public, and our future generations. She knows that direct experiences can be life changing.

Her expertise has been garnered after thousands of hours underwater. Over the years, Dr. Earle has been involved with the design of dozens of submersibles. Her knowledge has been crucial in the development of the Deep HOPE 1000 submersibles. In her words, "With Deep HOPE, the ocean is accessible to everyone, Heads of State, CEOs, naturalists, even the average 12-year-old. The ocean must be accessible, and be seen, to inspire conservation and protection."

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The Deep HOPE project is about building two 3-person submersibles which will allow exploration to depths of 1,000 metres. With these new submersibles, it is our HOPE that we will build and inspire a vast "sub club" of public supporters to discover new species, research and provide crucial information about the health and function of the deep oceans.

The primary objective of Deep HOPE is to explore the zone below the range of sunlight, the mesopelagic or "Twilight Zone". In many aspects, this is the most critical zone to the overall health of our entire planet. This zone harbours the greatest amount of marine biodiversity in the entire ocean, including the deep-water reef systems essential to the health of our planet.

This is the realm where most of the photosynthesis in the ocean occurs, producing oxygen, which is absolutely critical for almost all life on our planet. This segment of the ocean is also the source of the mass vertical migration that takes place daily. This vertical migration of marine fauna and flora is responsible for transporting vast amounts of man-made carbon dioxide emissions away from the surface and storing it safely at deeper depths.

The Twilight Zone is so named due to the many animals that have developed traits like bioluminescence. Many animals that normally live at the surface also hunt down here, including rays and whales. This zone, down to 1,000 metres, is habitat for an array of unique and often bizarre looking creatures including angel sharks, dragonfish, gulper eels, radiolarians and the fossil fish, coelacanth.

The Deep HOPE submersibles will gather scientific data and samples.

Additionally, they will document the expeditions in high definition imageries. Over five-years, the missions will focus on 12 locations across the planet from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The two submersibles aim to unravel the mysteries of the deep ocean in the Aleutian Islands, the edge of the oceanic island of Ascension, the deep Madagascar Channel, the abyssal depths of Palau, the ancient sea just off Manado where coelacanth were found, and the deep water ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. It is here that the Deep HOPE subs will be able to best study the recovery from the oil spill in 2011.

(www.deephope.org/missions)

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These locations were either selected due to their unique marine environment or to the significant events they have experienced, be it man-made or natural. The Deep HOPE submersibles will be operated in collaboration with scientists, artists and conservationists from each region where comparative deep diving can benefit science below traditional diver depths (50 metres).

All sites are HOPE SPOTS designated by Dr Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue Alliance. Hope Spots are regions in our oceans that show the greatest biodiversity or potential for resilience and are capable of restoring the health in our ocean ecosystems. The Deep HOPE submersibles will allow us to explore these "Hope Spots" to their fullest potential.

The design of Deep HOPE submersibles allows the ease of handling, and deployment more rapidly and easily than any other submersibles currently available for research purposes. The combination of the HOPE 1000 submersible designs along with Dr Earle's invaluable understanding of the most critical spots on Earth is the unique promise of Deep HOPE.

All locations in the missions plan are of significance for different reasons, but the data gathered will be used to compile an overall report card of ocean health down to 1,000 metres. Each of the two manned submersibles will be capable of diving to these depths with one pilot and two passengers. The passengers may be scientists, photographers, cinematographers, or citizens with a goal of conducting citizen science.

Government officials and corporate leaders could be invited as guests to experience these largely unexplored regions of our deep oceans firsthand.

These leaders can then be inspired to influence policy, focus on education, conservation and awareness of the urgency to protect this incredible resource for future generations.

We welcome all to join Dr Sylvia Earle, Michael AW and an advisory council comprised of elite explorers and scientists in the building of HOPE 1 and HOPE 2 submersibles. We invite you to become members of the sub club, in order to help support Deep HOPE and discover places where no one has gone before. The Twilight Zone is the future of deep ocean exploration, and it is our future and our survival. Join us and step into the future.

Learn more at www.deephope.org   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

( OG 42)

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