The folks over at Deep Sea News recently invited a marine biologist, writing under the pen name "Dour Marine Biologist," to provide some thought-provoking counter-observations to the media hype surrounding James Cameron's dive into Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth.
The guest blogger raises some important points about the scientific relevance of Cameron's dive, its funding, and its contribution not only to the scientific community, but society at large. For example: will the fact that Cameron's expedition was privately funded affect how any findings made on this and subsequent dives are revealed to the public (if and when they are revealed at all)? Has the publicity generated by Cameron's dive offered any benefit to real deep-sea explorers (i.e. people who actually dedicate their lives to studying the oceans)? And what will Cameron's excursions do to keep the enterprise of deep sea science thriving in years to come? As the guest blogger notes (putting his own spin on an oft-quoted sentiment from Harvard economist and US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren):
You built this sub, and funded this expedition into something terrific. God bless -– keep all the glory. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
You'll find the post in its entirety over on Deep Sea News — and be sure to check the comments section for some insightful feedback.
Top photo by Mark Thiessen via National Geographic