In what amounts to science fiction becoming fact, a major underwater research project with Canada spearheading the project, was announced last friday.
The Canadian Provinces of Ottowa and British Columbia have contributed $62.4 million dollars to help develop the worlds largest cable linked ocean floor observitory off the North American West Coast.
By the year 2007, scientists from Canada and the United States believe that the "Neptune Project" will allow them to project earlier warnings for earthquakes, and tsunamis and also provide them with more accurate estimates of commercial fish stocks and more accurately predict the earths ever changing climate.
The Neptune project also has the potential to contribute to the ongoing research being done into safer methods for extracting oil and natural gas from the ocean floor, which has the potential of providing a $100 billion dollar industry for British Columbia.
The United States, which has scientists working on the project, is expected to make a financial contribution to the Neptune project within the next year, making it a $300 million venture.
"The project is an international venture, but Canada was taking the lead" said University of Washington Professor John Delaney.
The informational value of this project is staggering. The Neptune project will provide information and images from the ocean depths 24 hours a day for more than 30 years.
The observatory will consist of an underwater network covering the entire geographic area known as the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. It is about 200,000 square kilometres off the earthquake-prone coasts of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
Thirty undersea laboratories will be connected by 3,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable.
Information and images gathered by underwater Neptune instruments will flow instantly via the Internet to shore stations in Victoria and Nedonna Beach, Ore.
The Internet connection will allow Neptune to relay its underwater information to laboratories, classrooms and living rooms around the world.