The sea bed may already be strewn with a web of communication cables, but now marine scientists are laying hundreds of kilometres of their own.
Oceanographers are building a network off the US west coast that will feed instruments at the bottom of the sea.
It means they will be able to study the deep, in real time, from the comfort of their offices; data – including live images – brought straight to their PCs.
Currently, most underwater research relies on venturing out by boat.
“This is a mission to ‘Planet Ocean’,” said John Delaney, a professor at the University of Washington.
He is working on the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), one of many projects currently underway to unlock the underwater world.
“This is a Nasa-scale mission to basically enter the inner space, to be there perpetually.”
The OOI plans to lay 1,300 km (800 miles) of cables to study the way tsunamis occur and how oceans regulate the planet’s ecosystem.