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Xprize Offers $7m Purse to ­nlock Mysteries of the Sea

By National Geographic News

December 16, 2015

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XPRIZE has launched a three-year global competition focused on ocean mapping. The competition will use a $7-million prize purse, in addition to the title of XPRIZE Winner, to attract marine scientists, geologists, and hobbyists to drive ocean exploration.

"This competition is technically challenging, but it is also very interdisciplinary," says XPRIZE senior director Jyotika Virmani. "It involves underwater robotics, it involves computer science, there is a digital imagery component to it. We expect a number of different approaches to this."

Competition participants must complete a series of tasks via devices that must be launched from the shore or air, and can operate at a depth of up to 4,000 meters. Specific tasks include making a high-resolution map of the sea floor, taking high-definition images of objects, and identifying key features in a type of "treasure hunt." In addition, there is a bonus $1-million challenge for technology that can monitor chemical and biological compounds in the water column.

The mapping challenge is the third in a series of five multi-million-dollar prizes the XPRIZE foundation has promised to launch by 2020 to address critical ocean challenges and inspire innovation.

From National Geographic News
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