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The XPRIZE Ocean Trophy
short description
A marine-themed trophy that celebrates the achievement of the XPRIZE competitors, as well as the vastness of life in the ocean.
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Your Submission Description
I wanted to create an object that recognized both the immensity and importance of the ocean, as well as mankind's achievement in its ever-deeper exploration. I decided I would attempt to blend elements of nature and man into an ‘organic’ trophy. It is made up of a globe depicting the oceans and the unified effort to explore it; a ship's steering wheel to symbolize past and ongoing maritime adventure; an explorer peering closely into the ocean to represent the clarity that new oceanic imaging will bring, and a coral and sea plant base that holds up the globe to show the significance of the flora and fauna of the ocean on the global climate and the carbon cycle. I decided that to fabricate this object, I would need to use some kind of plastic that can be set in a mold, however, plastics degrade very slowly in seawater and are already the cause of a lot of environmental damage. Even most bioplastics are not intended to compost in these conditions, so I investigated using a bioplastic derived from PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) which is ocean degradable in less than a year, and food-safe, thereby not threatening sea-life whatsoever. By mixing this plastic with sand, I could strengthen the form, reduce the plastic used, and lower the overall carbon footprint of the trophy. At the end of its life-cycle, the trophy essentially becomes a pile of sand. I would use a solid base and hollow out the globe at the top (but allow it to fill with water to prevent issues with pressure), such that the center of mass is very low and the object naturally travels upright as it lowered onto the seabed. I chose to make the trophy yellow, so that it stands out among the surroundings and can be detected easily in the dark.
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