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Oceans vs. Space: Which Is Really the Final Frontier?

Oceans vs. Space: Which Is Really the Final Frontier?

By XPRIZE on March 11, 2016

While many consider space to be the "final frontier," human beings have only explored an estimated 5% of our oceans. Over 500 people have journeyed into space and a dozen have walked on the surface of the moon, while only three humans have explored the deepest known point of the ocean. As we continue to exhaust the resources of Earth, there are clear benefits of exploring beyond our home planet. But life on Earth is entirely reliant on healthy oceans.

In the lead up to our Oceans vs Space: Which Is Really the Final Frontier? panel at SXSW this Sunday, we asked some exploration pioneers and experts which frontier — oceans or space — they believe will have the greatest impact on generations to come. Their answers will inspire you.

Don’t miss more of this riveting debate at SXSW with Chanda Gonzales - Sr. Director of Google Lunar XPRIZE, John Thornton - CEO of Astrobotic, and Philippe Cousteau – Founder of EarthEcho, at the #OceanVsSpace panel moderated by Fast Company’s Noah Robischon. Team Ocean and Team Space duke it out in five rounds exploring sound, vision, technology, discovery and habitability in both environments.

So are you Team Ocean or Team Space? Cast your vote online by using #OceansVsSpace and tweet and follow us @xprize!

 

1. Tough choice, but which do you think is more visually beautiful and mesmerizing, Oceans or Space?

 

“The Epic Images from Hubble of our Universe.”

Dr. Peter DiamandisDr. Peter Diamandis
Founder, XPRIZE
Futurist, Space Pioneer

 

“Life is the art of nature. There is no life in space, so by definition the oceans are the more aesthetically pleasing environment.”

Dr. Rick SpinradDr. Rick Spinrad
Chief Scientist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

“The Ocean. It is alive. Space is not.”

Sylvia Earle, PhDSylvia Earle, PhD
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
Founder, Mission Blue

 

“Most of space is empty, at least to our eyes. So far we haven’t found another living thing out there. The ocean, on the other hand, literally teems with life of almost unimaginable beauty and variety.”

James BeckJames Beck
CEO, Sunburst Sensors
Winner, Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

 

"Oceans, for sure. Ranging from the most transfixing colors of blue down to a blacker black than you will find anywhere in space, the ocean has every color of the rainbow."

Paul Bunje, PhDPaul Bunje, PhD
Principal and Senior Scientist, Energy & Environment, XPRIZE

 

"In the ocean, there is far greater diversity and things of interest...The ocean is far more mesmerizing to me."

Rod RoddenberryRod Roddenberry
CEO, Roddenberry Entertainment

 

"I lean toward oceans because their beauty is accessible to everyone."

John ThorntonJohn Thornton
CEO, Astrobotic
Google Lunar XPRIZE team

 

"Both have a lot to be explored, and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so this is perhaps a trick question...which is what makes it so brilliant."

Marcus ShinglesMarcus Shingles
CEO, XPRIZE

 

 

2. Would you rather live in an underwater city or a space station? And which do you think holds the greatest potential for future human habitation, Oceans or Space?

 

“Space Station. Space ultimately holds infinitely greater potential.”

Dr. Peter DiamandisDr. Peter Diamandis
Founder, XPRIZE
Futurist, Space Pioneer

 

“I'd rather live in the sea. I could find food, energy and water easily. And the weather is better!“

Dr. Rick SpinradDr. Rick Spinrad
Chief Scientist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

“Both require making peace with the natural systems that make life possible...Living underwater provides perspectives on life in the sea impossible to otherwise comprehend. It has to be ocean.”

Sylvia Earle, PhDSylvia Earle, PhD
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
Founder, Mission Blue

 

“Both choices sound daunting, but I think an underwater city would be much easier from an engineering standpoint.”

James BeckJames Beck
CEO, Sunburst Sensors
Winner, Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

 

“There’s more room in space, but all of the resources we need for life exist in the ocean. We could live in peace beneath the waves without the need to ship resources across the universe. I can’t wait to move in!”

Paul Bunje, PhDPaul Bunje, PhD
Principal and Senior Scientist, Energy & Environment, XPRIZE

 

"When talking about which one holds the greatest potential for humanity, I would definitely have to say space… primarily because of its vastness and numerous habitable planets that most certainly exist throughout it."

Rod RoddenberryRod Roddenberry
CEO, Roddenberry Entertainment

 

"I would rather live in a space station on the Moon than underwater because of the limitless unknown just outside the front door."

John ThorntonJohn Thornton
CEO, Astrobotic
Google Lunar XPRIZE team

 

"Long-term greatest potential would be Space. Although, with rising sea levels it seems that for our near-term human habitation we may need to figure out Oceans."

Marcus ShinglesMarcus Shingles
CEO, XPRIZE

 

 

3. Which individual has had the greatest influence on exploration in history or modern times?

 

“For me it was the great explorers of the 1500s/1600s… Columbus, Magellan, Cook, etc.”

Dr. Peter DiamandisDr. Peter Diamandis
Founder, XPRIZE
Futurist, Space Pioneer

 

“Jules Verne.”

Dr. Rick SpinradDr. Rick Spinrad
Chief Scientist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

"No one individual can claim to be the ‘greatest,’ as all humans are connected to all that has been discovered and passed along through thousands of generations. The greatest era of exploration is just beginning now."

Sylvia Earle, PhDSylvia Earle, PhD
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
Founder, Mission Blue

 

“I think Jacques Cousteau was a great explorer and influence on the study of the importance and beauty of the oceans.”

James BeckJames Beck
CEO, Sunburst Sensors
Winner, Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

 

"Arguably there are a number of historical figures who have heavily influenced human exploration. However for me, today, I have to say Elon Musk is someone I am inspired by."

Rod RoddenberryRod Roddenberry
CEO, Roddenberry Entertainment

 

"Neil Armstrong has had the greatest influence on exploration in modern times. His 'small step' on the Moon will stand forever as a 'Columbus' moment for future space exploration and settlement."

John ThorntonJohn Thornton
CEO, Astrobotic
Google Lunar XPRIZE team

 

"For my kids' generation it is Elon Musk and Richard Branson, even our very own Peter Diamandis. For all history, I'd say Columbus or Jacque Cousteau."

Marcus ShinglesMarcus Shingles
CEO, XPRIZE

 

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