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Heroes

A rover dived to the bottom of the ocean. 15 photos show what it found there.

Have you ever wondered what it looks like miles below the surface of the ocean?

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.


The Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the Earth's oceans, and scientists and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are sending cameras down into its depths.

They'll be exploring the deep water around the entire area, from relatively shallow undersea mountains to down in the deep valleys more than six miles underwater. They're scheduled to explore until July 10, 2016, with this incredible camera rover as their eye in the deep.

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

The ship is equipped with a fast internet connection, so the entire trip is being live-streamed online — meaning that scientists and researchers and fans of weird deep-sea creatures alike can join in the journey via the magic wizardry which is the internet.

Here are just some of the incredible things they've spotted so far:

1. Amazing beauties like this jellyfish

You're not ready for this jelly(fish). Image from oceanexplorergov/YouTube.

2. Enchanting, fragile deep-sea corals

I'm pretty sure you get one of these when you visit Hawaii. Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

3. Startlingly flower-like crinoids

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

Though it looks like a plant, crinoids (also known as sea lilies) are actually distantly related to starfish. I can't decide whether this is beautiful or terrifying. Maybe both? Terror-eautiful?

4. A whole bouquet of them

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

5. There are whole reefs down here! Complete with sharks!

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

Despite popular belief, not all coral reefs live up in the shallows.

6. And tiny, adorable fish


"I will call him Squishy, and he will be my friend." Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

7. Plus some considerably less adorable fish

Aaaah! Image from the oceanexplorergov/YouTube live-stream, May 3, 2016.

8. A swarm of amoebas, each the size of a grape


Aaaaah! AAAAAAH! Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

9. Weird predators like this tunicate (also known as a sea squirt)

So, uh, what end am I looking at here? Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

10. Whatever the heck this is

Image from the oceanexplorergov/YouTube live-stream, May 3, 2016.

The scientists on the live-stream said they thought it was a weird type of anemone-like animal called a relicanthus holding on to a sponge, but I think we can all agree it's obviously an alien.

11. Acorn worms, like this guy

It's kind of cute if you ignore the whole "I don't have a face" thing. Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

12. And this shrimp with some sort of parasitic backpack

Scientists weren't able to identify the parasite, which is the most chilling sentence in the English language. Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

These are some of the awesome things you'll see if you tune in to watch the NOAA live-stream. It's not all cool creatures and unidentified parasites, though.

The research team has also found some highly uncool items deep at the bottom of the ocean:

13. Things like this beer can

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

It was found more than two miles below the ocean's surface on top of an undersea mountain.

14. And this plastic bag

Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

"You may think that working in the deep sea means that we only see pristine environments, but unfortunately that isn’t true," wrote NOAA expedition scientists Diva Amon and Deborah Glickson in an Earth Day post.

"Even here, in one of the deepest places on Earth, humans have left their mark."

So what's the moral to this story? It might be obvious but...

Don't throw stuff into the ocean. Or anywhere that'll lead to the ocean. I know the ocean seems huge and deep, but it is not going to be improved by a half-eaten container of Spam.

15. Which, yes, they also found

25% less sodium means nothing when you're surrounded by saltwater. Image from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.

Not only is ocean trash ugly, it can be dangerous. Garbage, especially plastic garbage, can kill wild animals.

These are the kinds of images people need to see — both how amazing the ocean is and how easy it is to de-amazing-ify it through carelessness.

It's a reminder that we should all be more thoughtful about where our trash ends up.

The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

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“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

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