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In 2014, we know mountains more about the oceans than we did 100 years ago, but still have so much to learn.
We just told you about the thousands of mountains discovered underwater by new technology. But we’re still just scratching the surface.
Ocean explorers, scientists and marine conservationists are working hard every day to discover the ocean’s secrets, and the knowledge they have can be credited to the explorers that came before them.
Let’s take a look at the brave men and women that paved the way for ocean exploration.
1. James Cook (1728 – 1779)
James Cook was a British navigator and Royal Navy captain. He created the first accurate map of the Pacific Ocean, and disproved the myth that a southern continent of Terra Australis existed.
He also charted the Great Barrier Reef.
James Cook (left), Vagn Ekman (right)
2. Vagn Ekman (1874 – 1954)
Swedish Explorer Vagn Ekman developed theories to explain ocean currents. He also formulated a way to determine seawater compressibility from pressure and temperature.
He invented several scientific instruments which are still in use today – the Ekman current meter and the Ekman reversing water bottle.
3. Jacques Cousteau (1910 – 1997)
You may recognize that red beanie from Bill Murray’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer and filmmaker who co-developed the Aqua-lung. He created a total of 19 films.
His first of sixteen books, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, was published in 1953.
4. Jacques Piccard (1922 – 2008)
Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard invented underwater vehicles to study ocean currents. He was one of the first people to explore the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, the Challenger Deep.
5. Robert Bllard (1942 – present)
American oceanographer Robert Ballard is known for his discovery of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 1985, but he also has noted work in underwater archaeology.
6. Sylvia Earle (1935 – present)
Syliva Earle is an American oceanographer, explorer, aquanaut, author, and former chief scientist for NOAA. Not only did she break barriers in the world of oceanography, she helped pave the way for female scientists in America.
Earle’s famous underwater walk in the JIM suit set a record for deepest dive without a tether.
She’s traveled the world on scientific expeditions and collaborated with underwater photographer Al Giddings. They followed the sperm whales in 1977, an adventure documented in the film Gentle Giants of the Pacific.
With her husband Sylvia founded Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies to design and build deep-sea submersibles.
7. James Cameron (1954 – present)
I know what you’re thinking. This is the guy who directed the film Titanic.
And you’re right. But his filmmaking talents are not what landed him on this list.
James Cameron developed the underwater camera and was the first person to make a solo dive into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.
After Titanic, he formed a digital media company called Earthship Productions, and made several ocean documentary films.
You can learn more about famous ocean explorers on seasky.org.