Scientists call for decade of concerted effort to enhance understanding of the deep seas

Scientists call for decade of concerted effort to enhance understanding of the deep seas
A close-up image of a bamboo coral called Acanella arbuscula taken from ~1000m deep in the North East Atlantic Credit: NERC funded Deep Links Project (University of Plymouth, Oxford University, JNCC, BGS)

The deep seas—vast expanses of water and seabed hidden more than 200 meters below the ocean surface to depths up to 11,000 meters—are recognized globally as an important frontier of science and discovery.

But despite the fact they account for around 60% of Earth’s surface area, large areas remain completely unexplored, yet the habitats they support impact on the health of the entire planet.

Now an international team of scientists, spanning 45 institutions in 17 countries, has called for a dedicated decade-long program of research to greatly advance discovery in these remote regions.

The program—which scientists have named Challenger 150—will coincide with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021-2030.

Challenger 150

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SpaceX launch is delayed till Sunday because of rough seas

Now that NASA has deemed that mission a success, from launch to docking to splashdown, SpaceX is moving ahead with what it hopes will be regular flights to the space station carrying full contingents of astronauts for extended stays. The first of those “operational” flights, as NASA calls them, is scheduled for this weekend, with four space travelers — three from the United States and one from Japan — aboard. But there is nothing routine about it.

That was made clear Friday, when the mission’s planned Saturday launch was thrown into doubt after Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, tweeted that he had twice tested positive for the coronavirus, but also had tested negative the same day. He said he had been feeling unwell the past few days: “Mild sniffles & cough & slight fever past few days. Right now, no symptoms, although I did take NyQuil.”

But the news

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