Into the abyss: Underwater rovers reveal colorful world in deepest part of ocean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has captured astounding images from the Mariana Trench that previously only James Cameron’s CGI team could have created.
The crew is exploring the entire area in the western Pacific Ocean and it’s all streamed live online, like a sequel to "The Abyss".
Fortunately, they haven’t (yet) been sabotaged by a Navy SEAL with a nuclear warhead suffering from pressure sickness.
Challenger Deep within the trench goes down more than 30,000ft, the lowest ocean floor in the world.
Exploration started April 20 and will continue until July 10.
So far, what the Okeanos Explorer vessel and its remotely-operated underwater vehicles (ROV) have captured is mind-blowing.
Like this neon jellyfish.
Or this stalked crinoid, a starfish relative known as a sea lily that is bursting with color.
The team last week explored part of the back arc where a volcano had occurred and discovered fresh “glassy pillow basalts” to confirm recent lava flow.
Pillow lava is formed when it erupts and then becomes cooled by the sea water, creating a formation that looks gentle enough to lay your head on.
The deep-sea holothurian, also known as sea cucumbers, could be the reincarnation of the Purple One, Prince.
NOAA reports the creatures usually swim to avoid physical danger, although you would never guess by watching the smooth, hypnotic movements of the colorful marine animal, much like Prince himself.
The tunicate Megalodicopia, or ocean squirt, is a predatory creature that uses its large mouth to capture its prey.
Sounds like a land creature we all know.
And I prey they are able to shut down trump and his loud mouth. Just because you yell louder than everyone else doesn't mean you win...— Ashley McClain (@Word_AshMoney) December 16, 2015
This image captures the vast depths of the sea, showing the Deep Discoverer ROV in a 46 ft (14 m) hydrothermal chimney.
This enteropneust, or acorn worm, looks like a creepy love child of a snake and a jellyfish.
In this picture, it is leaving a “fecal coil” on the floor.
That’s no candy bar.
The Okeanos Explorer detects interesting phenomenon through its sensors and then deploys the ROVs to explore it further.
The ship has a “modern hull-mounted multibeam sonar for generating high-resolution maps of the seafloor as deep as 6,000 meters”, which is as far down as the ROVs can go.
No word on when a human will go down in a liquid-filled suit to get a lecture from the creatures about our use of nuclear weapons and climate change denial.
One ROV serves as a light for the other as they capture photos, video, and data from the underwater environment.
They also have the ability to take physical samples with its arms, but this mission is strictly look but don’t touch.