Ocean drone maps seafloor around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands
For the first time ever, more than 45,000 square kilometers of previously unknown seafloor around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and off the California coast has been surveyed by an ocean drone.
Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the project leveraged the world’s largest uncrewed ocean mapping vehicle Saildrone Surveyor to gather critical data. The expedition aimed to address ocean exploration gaps in remote areas so that critical natural resources can be managed more sustainably.
Alaska is the least mapped region in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which stretches from the coast to 200 nautical miles from shore. But as Dr. Aurora Elmore, cooperative institute manager at NOAA Ocean Exploration, points out:
Every American, in one way or another, depends on the ocean — from protein from fish to feed animals or humans, to deep-sea cables that make the internet…