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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Exploring the undiscovered ocean floor

Shell+Ocean+Discovery+XPRIZE
Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE

For years, humans have been restricted by high costs and limited current technologies when exploring the ocean, but an A&M ocean engineering team is competing to rectify this problem by participating in the the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition.
The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is a global competition challenging teams to advance deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration. Teams build devices that will push the boundaries of existing technologies and discovering unknown species, underwater resources, and geological features to better understand the mysteries of the deep ocean. A&M is one of 30 teams  competing and will have an entire year to design and test their deep-sea engineering model.
Dylan Blakeslee, ocean engineering senior and team leader, said because such a large percentage of the ocean is unknown, the competition is crucial for ocean technology advancement.
“We’ve only researched 5 percent of the ocean and 95 percent is undiscovered,” Blakeslee said. “We know more about the surface of Mars then we do our own ocean and essentially being able to map and discover opens up a whole new world.”
Many government agencies, academic institutions and private companies support the ocean exploration, but only a fraction are spent on exploring the deep ocean.
Gabriel Tatman, petroleum engineering sophomore and participant in the competition, said he likes how the competition brings together different disciplines.
“My favorite aspect of working with the XPRIZE team is that it brings together many different types of engineers: ocean, mechanical, aerospace, chemical, petroleum engineers and more,” Tatman said. “Working side by side with other engineering disciplines lets us all learn a bit more about each other’s type of engineering and establishes an environment similar to that of actual industry.”
Charlie Donaway, advisor in the Department of Ocean Engineering, said the team has received support from industries including Deep Down Inc. Oceaneering, Royal Dutch Shell, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“In addition to the students in College Station and Galveston, we’ve also had students from two different universities in Brazil help out,” Donaway said. “[This is a] great way to integrate students from Texas A&M with the industry. That really goes to show the influence that Aggies have not only in Texas, but worldwide.”
One of the greatest aspects of this competition team is that they are still looking for growth in their ranks. Blakeslee said they hope to create a class in conjunction with this project to recruit more students and to have a scheduled time for the team to work.
“They are going to make a senior level class, a directed studies class, for a select amount of students,” Blakeslee said.

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