Stop what you're doing and watch this. Below the fold are three high-definition streams of the ocean floor, currently broadcasting LIVE via NOAA's new 6,000-meter remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Deep Discoverer. It's... well... let's just say you might want to clear your schedule for the day.
The Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition is one of the first exploration missions that lets onshore audiences tune in live, with access to real-time, high-quality video footage from deepwater areas.
For the last month or so, scientists aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer have been working with onshore technicians to better understand the ecology of one of the most poorly understood locations on Earth: the ocean floor. The mission's specific goal is to explore deep-sea habitats and marine life along the Northeast U.S. Canyons and at Mytilus Seamount, regions of the seafloor situated a few hundred miles off the coast of New England. To do it, researchers are using a brand new 6,000-meter ROV named Deep Discovery and a sweet camera setup to bring the community closer to the science than ever. Via NOAA:
The exploration area for this community-driven expedition was identified based on the discussions and information stemming from the May 2011 Atlantic Basin Workshop and priority area input received from other NOAA programs and the management community. Using this input, and data acquired during previous Atlantic Canyon Undersea Mapping Expeditions (ACUMEN Project), NOAA and the broader science community have identified a number of exciting targets to explore during the two cruise legs, commencing the next steps in systematic exploration. In the coming weeks, we expect to explore cold seeps, deep coral communities, undersea canyons, landslide features, and a seamount.
Featured below is the first of three (!) live feeds, all currently streaming live via Okeanos. The dives are being narrated by mission scientists and technicians. I've been watching all morning (several hours at this point) and it has been consistently engaging. Be warned: these feeds are MAJOR time-sucks. Tons of deep-sea marine life to be had (a swordfish literally just swam by on feed 1) and giddy scientists to narrate the whole thing. The excitement is palpable. You feel like you're on a deep sea dive, trying to get squids like the one up top to chase laser pointers (oh yeah, the ROV is equipped with a laser pointer). It's genuinely incredible.
Enough talk. Here's the primary feed along with the description for today's dive:
0930EDT: Today’s dive is in an named area between Lydonia and Powell Canyons. It will be a shallow dive much like yesterday’s dive. The ROV will start out at 635 meters then work up to 500 meters. The ROV is scheduled to leave the bottom a few minutes after 1600EDT.
ht Rose Evelyth