The deep sea is one of the last truly mysterious locales on the Earth, and scientists are always finding strange new things down there. For the next few days (starting around 4:30 p.m. Eastern time) you can enjoy live video streams from the exploration of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on the planet.
Known as the Grand Canyon of the ocean, the Mariana Trench is actually over 120 times larger than the Arizona landmark. The trench stretches across 1,580 miles of the Pacific Ocean. Its deepest point, known as the Challenger Deep, plunges so far below sea level –more than 36,000 feet – that Mount Everest could sit in it and still be covered by a mile of water. Most parts of the trench bottom out around 20,000 feet, which is still plenty deep enough for life to get pretty strange-looking. Incredible pressure, cold temperatures and a lack of sunlight make for some very weird creatures.
The video feed of this alien habitat comes from NOAA's 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition. As part of the expedition, NOAA uses a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to send video and data to scientists sitting up at the surface.
Because many of the organisms that live this deep under the sea never come to the surface, it's not uncommon for scientists to see totally new species on expeditions like this. If you keep a close eye on the video feed, you could catch the world debut of a hitherto unknown creature.
You can watch live video of the ROV until May 11, and again for about a month starting June 10. But unfortunately, there won't be any alien-looking fish around to entertain you when you're trying to beat the workday doldrums: The expedition is running on Fiji time, which means the video runs for about nine hours starting at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.
If you miss the live video feed, you can check out some highlight videos from previous days at NOAA's website. And don't miss our previous post on the strange little jellyfish that appeared on camera earlier this week.