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Deep-sea Diver

Deep-sea Diver

Throughout June 2013, a team of oceanographers and astrobiologists led by WHOI scientist Chris German will explore one of the deepest mid-ocean ridges, the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center beneath the Caribbean Sea. Aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor, they are using the hybrid underwater robotic vehicle Nereus  to search for seafloor hydrothermal vents, which spew hot, mineral-rich fluids and support complex ecosystems of exotic organisms. This overhead view of Nereus shows the ceramic spheres that provide flotation. Each sphere is just 50/1,000ths of an inch thick and can withstand 16,500 pounds per square inch—the pressure 7 miles under the sea. (Photo courtesy of Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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