Oceans of Opportunity

First Exosuit Scientific Mission | in Context

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiOn Wednesday, March 5, 2014, a reception was hosted by the American Museum of Natural History to bring together the many individuals contributing to, participating in, and supporting the Stephen J. Barlow Bluewater Expedition – the mission will make first use of the Exosuit ADS for science while investigating mesopelagic environments for bioluminescent and biofluorescent organisms that may prove useful in developing biomarkers and neuronal activity probes to advance the field of neuroscience. I delivered the below statement for the reception to help present the context of the mission.

“Good evening. I’m generally not one for prepared speeches, though thought it would be more appropriate given the significance and circumstances of the forthcoming expedition.

I first want to acknowledge the Barlow Family, as well as the partners coming together to ensure this mission’s success; the J.F. White Contracting Company, the John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University, and the American Museum of Natural History.

 

For half a
century or more, our society and culture has been dazzled by only brief forays
into what remains a very much unknown world. These simple snapshots have driven
decades of advancement throughout all of the humanities, related commerce, and have
afforded us the inspiration to move forward.

Today is an important
day because we humans, once again, have the opportunity to take a giant
leap, and are again at the epicenter of problem solving within a new frontier.

On several
occasions, I have personally set foot at the leading edge of our very flat
planet, stared deep into the abyss, and at that moment have been humbled through experiencing the pinnacle of discovery firsthand.
While
infinitely brief moments – literally just minutes of interpreting that space –
I took from it new personal experience, new knowledge, and in fact even new life
– never before described for science – which now rests archived within these
very walls here at the American Museum.

That moment
is why we are here – to adapt, interpret, connect, to be inspired, and to ultimately
evolve and make progress – that is exploration.

Ultimately
important throughout the journey we are embarking on is that people inspire
people, and it is the human spirit alone that will carry us forward to a new
and sustainable future.

In close I’d
like to share a brief story:      

Ten years
ago I was approached by a man unable to walk, unable to move his arms and legs,
and in fact unable to breathe of his own free will. In a very short amount of
time, I saw this man rise up and walk away from the limits that our complex and
unfair world imposed upon him, and witnessed him taking his first breathes
underwater…very much a miracle.

His response
to experiencing the underwater world was simply, “this is where God shows off”.
And at that moment, this man became free.

What I am
promising all of you, is that through this journey, we will all take next steps,
find new freedoms in leaving our shores, and shed light on the many gifts of
the sea.”
This one is for all of us.

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