How much of the ocean have we explored?

To date, we have explored approximately five percent of the ocean.

A field of anemones

Much remains to be learned from exploring the mysteries of the deep.

The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet's surface, driving weather, regulating temperature, and ultimately supporting all living organisms. Throughout history, the ocean has been a vital source of sustenance, transport, commerce, growth, and inspiration.

Yet for all of our reliance on the ocean, about 95 percent of this realm remains unexplored, unseen by human eyes.

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is leading efforts to explore the ocean by supporting expeditions to investigate and document unknown and poorly known areas of the ocean. These expeditions represent a bold and innovative approach by infusing teams of scientist-explorers with a "Lewis and Clark" spirit of discovery and equipping them with the latest exploration tools.

From mapping and describing the physical, biological, geological, chemical, and archaeological aspects of the ocean to understanding ocean dynamics, developing new technologies, and helping us all unlock the secrets of the ocean, NOAA is working to increase our understanding of the ocean realm.

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Last updated: 04/16/18
Author: NOAA
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