The deep ocean is an alien landscape that scientists have only just begun to understand.
Miles beneath the waves, the seafloor is home to life that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet, including organisms that glow with bioluminescence and cluster around hydrothermal vents for food and energy.
Only an estimated 20% of the seabed has been mapped so far, and humans have spent more time on the moon’s surface than exploring the wonders of Challenger Deep, the deepest known point of Earth’s ocean floor.
So much remains to be explored because reaching the bottom of the ocean is an incredibly difficult task. Deep-sea vessels must be able to navigate intense darkness, pressure, cold temperatures and challenging terrain.
But the ocean depths have much to offer, including lifesaving compounds and the secrets of how life on Earth evolved. Continue reading from CNN
The human-occupied vehicle (HOV) DEEPSEA CHALLENGER is a one-person submersible capable of reaching full-ocean depth. It was built in Sydney, Australia, by Acheron Project Pty., Ltd., and piloted by James Cameron to Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the global ocean, on March 26, 2012. In March 2013, Cameron transferred the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER to WHOI, forming a partnership to stimulate advances in ocean science and exploration and to build on the remarkable technological breakthroughs embodied in the vehicle.
The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER incorporates many new technological advances that will likely help advance underwater exploration for years to come. Among these is its unique vertical orientation in the water, innovative materials such as the highly sophisticated syntactic foam, and a high-quality video imaging system capable of producing 3-D movies of the seafloor. Continue reading from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution