Ballard encourages the next generation of ocean explorers
Ballard gave a talk to a sold-out Texas Hall as part of the Maverick Speaker Series. Ballard has spent over 50 years as a sea explorer and researcher and is probably best known as the man who found the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985. He said educators need to sell science "stars" to young students so that they can envision themselves in those roles.
"I never got a letter from a kid in the first 50 (deep-sea) expeditions I did, then I found the Titanic, and I got 16,000 letters from kids," he said. "Kids are drawn to different fields because of role models."
Ballard has led or participated in more than 65 underwater expeditions, some of them involving deep-diving submersibles he has designed. He is also the pioneer of the online JASON Project that allows schoolchildren to virtually explore the oceans. Ballard said since the vast majority of the ocean floor has yet to be explored, great discoveries await the next generation of scientists.
"I tell the generation that's out there in middle school, 'Your generation is going to explore more of earth than all previous generations combined,' " he said.