There is a new X Prize challenge to map the ocean floor and with it comes a $7 million prize for the team that gets it right. The Shell Ocean Discovery X Prize is a three-year global competition that challenges researchers to build better technologies for mapping Earth’s seafloor.
To win the Ocean Discovery X Prize, the research teams will have to develop an autonomous vehicle that can be launched from the air or shoreline to map the seafloor. Launching it is on thing but the vehicle must be equipped with technologies allowing it to create high-resolution maps of the seafloor and work at depths up to about 13,125 feet. Throughout the competition, the underwater vehicles will also be tasked with creating high-res images of individual objects, including archeological, biological or geological features of the seafloor.
The winning team will win $4 million, but the second place team will also win $1 million and additional monteary prizes for the top 10 teams in the competition. Plus the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is kicking in a $1 million bonus prize to teams that demonstrate technology that uses biological and chemical signals to “sniff out” objects in the ocean. Why?
NOAA is looking for technology that can detect “sources of pollution, enable rapid response to leaks and spills, identify hydrothermal vents and methane seeps, as well as track marine life for scientific research and conservation efforts,” said Richard Spinrad, chief scientist at NOAA.
The Shell Ocean Discovery X Prize is just one part of the X Prize Ocean Initiative, a series of five competitions that will span a 10-year period.
[via Scientific American]