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The Okeanos Explorer departs for Papahānaumokuākea

NOAA Ship <i>Okeanos Explorer</i> systematically explores the deep oceans of the world.
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. Credit: NOAA

Today, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer departed Pearl Harbor for a 22-day expedition to explore the deep waters in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

The team will explore the seafloor at depths of 1,300 to 16,250 feet (400 to 5,000 meters) with two unmanned remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, which are tethered to ship. The ROVs are outfitted with multiple high-definition cameras to capture imagery that the ship will transmit back to shore.

The public can tune in and view the exploration in real time. Starting on August 2, anyone with an internet connection can virtually explore the deep sea with scientists and researchers from their computer or mobile device.

Expedition leaders anticipate finding large deep-sea coral communities known as coral gardens – some with coral colonies thought to be thousands of years old – as well as sponge communities. Both coral gardens and sponge communities provide habitat for a number of other species.

Read about the expedition and view live streaming video on the expedition website:

Read the press release.