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June 14 2013

Wealthy backers support scientific efforts to explore deep seas


A small but growing number of wealthy patrons, enamored of the possibilities of undersea exploration, are donating the use of ships, submersibles and other resources to support missions that might otherwise be unaffordable.

Funding pure ocean exploration ó going where no person has gone before ó has always been hard for researchers. Federal agencies do support exploratory work, but they generally award grants to pursue answers to well-formed questions. This can create a Catch-22, in which scientists donít know which questions to ask until they get into unexplored areas.

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