There may be permanent human habitats under the ocean in just a few years, but for now, scientists have to rely on Mesobot, a hybrid remotely-operated vehicle (HROV), to monitor the real-life twilight zone. The footage you’re about to see was captured during an October 2023 Nautilus Live expedition to the Geologist Seamounts, located around 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Hawaii’s Big Island.
Since these deep sea animals migrate between surface waters at night and deeper regions during the day, the team was able to observe them from a relatively shallow depth of 328 feet (100 meters). In addition to capturing high-resolution images, various auxiliary devices can also be connected to Mesobot like a sampler that pumps seawater through filters to collect environmental DNA left behind by animals recently in the area.
It’s all part of a co-robotics experiment aboard the Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus, funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI) to advance the pace of ocean exploration through innovation with teams from OET, WHOI, University of New Hampshire, and the University of Rhode Island,” said the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.