The Biggest Last Mystery on Earth
¡Viva la Science!
there—everywhere—and we’ve never seen exactly what’s going on in its depths.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aims to change all that. In July and August of this year, their Okeanos Explorer voyaged near the northeastern US along the Atlantic Continental Slope, where the submerged edge of the North American continent begins to drop off into deeper ocean.
The Okeanos Explorer isn’t a research vessel. According to NOAA’s website, its “sole assignment is to systematically explore Earth’s largely unknown ocean.” That’s right: pure exploration. Ain’t it grand? Perhaps most thrillingly, at least for armchair scientists everywhere, the expedition tested a new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can go down to 6,000 meters (over 19,000 feet). It’s got six cameras, two of them high-def, and an elaborate lighting system. It can move and zoom and produce unutterably awesome (and thoroughly new) images that the team shared in real time with other scientists and with the public.
Just look at what it found. A world.
You can explore more of the outlandish beauty for yourself on NOAA’s Photo and Video Log. And you totally should. This video of highlights from the expedition’s second leg is mesmerizingly worth the 20 minutes.