Missiles & misconceptions : why we know more about the dark side of the Moon than the depths of the ocean
Author(s)Young, Grace Calvert
Missiles and misconceptions
Why we know more about the dark side of the Moon than the depths of the ocean
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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Tens of billions of dollars are spent on manned and unmanned missions probing deeper into space, while 95% of Earth's oceans remain unexplored. The more intensive focus on space exploration is a historically recent phenomenon. For millennia until the mid-20th century, space and ocean exploration proceeded roughly at the same pace, driven by military and commercial interests as well as simple curiosity. Both date back to early civilization when star-gazers scanned the skies, and sailors and free-divers scoured the seas. Since the 1960s, however, the trajectories of exploration diverged dramatically. Cold War-inspired geopolitical-military imperatives propelled government funding of space research to an extraordinary level, while ocean exploration stagnated in comparison. Moreover, although the Cold War ended more than 20 years ago, the disparity in research efforts remains vast despite evidence that accelerating changes in our marine ecosystems directly threatens our wellbeing. This thesis reviews the history of space and ocean exploration through the Cold War to the present. It also dispels persistent misconceptions that led to the disparity in resources allocated between space and ocean exploration and argues for prioritizing ocean research.
Thesis: S.B. in Mechanical & Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 46-50).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology