We are entering an age of discovery.

Each year, big vessels carrying robust robotic explorers and sometimes humans embark on deep sea voyages. Roughly 25 percent of the seafloor is mapped, and this lightless realm is mostly mysterious. The new exploration of little-known places on Earth is called a deep ocean mission.

It's common for something to be hard to understand down there. During the six-month voyage to the ridge, biologists spotted a blue gunk on the Caribbean seafloor at some 1,400 feet below the surface. It's possible that it's a new-to-science sponge. Something else completely?

"We didn't know what it was, we didn't know what to do with it, we didn't know what to do with it, we didn't know what to do with it, we didn't know what to do with it," he said. When we go into the deep sea, we always find something. You find things that you have never seen before.

Deep sea exploration missions are very important. Scientists want to illuminate what's down there. As mineral prospectors prepare to run tank-like industrial equipment across parts of the seafloor, the implications of knowing are incalculable. Ocean life has great potential for new medicines. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, marine organisms produce more antibiotics, anti-cancer, and anti-Inflammatory substances than any other group of organisms.

"You're always finding things that you haven't seen before."

Without knowing what's there first, it would be a shame to lose those possibilities. It's not his job to advocate for protecting any ocean areas, but to reveal what's down there, he said.

There are some stunning findings captured by different deep sea explorers.

Voyage to the Ridge

coral intertwined with a brittle star

The brittlestar Ophiocreas oedipus wrapped around coral in the deep sea. Credit: NOAA

The agency can embark on missions of ocean exploration with a robot that can reach over 20,000 feet down. The Atlantic Ocean's Mid-Atlantic Ridge was the focus of the mission in the year 2022. At the meeting of two giant plates, it's an area that's spreading apart, allowing new rock to rise from under the seafloor. These areas are vastly under explored because of this.

This voyage ends.

  • Captured rarely or never-before-seen footage, such as the organisms described above, and identified around 20 new species, or species found in a new part of the ocean.

  • In an extremely dynamic part of the ocean, where new seafloor is being made, and in some places, near where hot particle-rich fluid is leaking from the ground, I had the opportunity to explore some of the different habitats.

  • The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone is a giant fault that runs through the ridge.

a transparent ocean organism swimming above the ocean floor

A transparent predatory tunicate (six inches wide) spotted on the Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition. Credit: NOAA

Puzzling, unusually perfect holes on the ocean floor

a line of holes on the seafloor

An animal that burrowed horizontally through the sea floor might have made these linear holes, says a marine zoologist. Credit: NOAA

Scientists are stumped by the origin of the holes.

The holes may be the result of mechanized human activity. That is not likely. Mike Vecchione, a zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History, said in August that he didn't think they were made by humans.

Is that what they may be? Niranjana Rajalakshmi reported for the site.

  1. An animal could have burrowed through the sea floor horizontally, and occasionally pushed up holes to get fresh oxygenated water for ventilation.

  2. A creature swam just above the surface of the sea sediment and occasionally poked something down into the sandy floor. "Sort of the way that shorebirds feed when you go to the beach. You'll see birds walking along the edges of the surf and they're poking their bills down into the sand every once in a while," Vecchione explained. 

The full story can be found on the website.

Scientists discover ancient shark swimming in a really strange place

A Greenland shark swimming in the ocean.

A Greenland shark swimming in the ocean. Credit: Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock

One of the last things biologists expected to find in the warm Caribbean Sea was an ancient Greenland shark, a creature known for being far off in the ice of the ice age.

There is a shark species that lives for centuries in the deep sea.

"It looked like something that would exist in prehistoric times."

There was a slow moving, sluggish creature under the surface of the water. This observation was published in a journal. The researchers thought it could be a sixgill shark. They confirmed it was a shark by taking a photo.

It looked like something that existed in the past.

The complete story can be found on the website.

Magical, serpentine creature of the deep sea filmed by scientists

The snaky siphonophore looks like it could be up to 160 feet in length.

It's a huge colony of animals.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has a camera. It looks like it's floating on water. It's made up of a lot of specialized organisms.

It's not easy to study Siphonophores, who live at some 2,300 to 3,280 feet below the surface. Researchers using high-resolution cameras aboard a deep sea exploration robot focused on how the translucent bell-like pieces move the colorful colony through the water

Scientists spot a squid doing something profoundly rare in the deep sea

a squid with a long trail of eggs

A few species of squids hold their eggs until they hatch, presumably to protect them from predators. Credit: MBARI

During a dive in Monterey Bay, researchers had a strange encounter. A squid mom has eggs in her mouth.

A deep-sea squid (Bathyteuthis sp.) grasping hundreds of eggs in her arms was encountered by researchers. The squid behavior was captured by a remote-operated vehicle.

Niranjana Rajalakshmi reported for the site.

Squids are generally thought to lay their eggs, leave them to develop on their own, and then swim away. So carrying hundreds of potential offspring is quite unusual to see. 

Parental instinct gives the best answer for this behavior, Stephanie Bush, a marine scientist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told Mashable. "The squid is protecting the eggs against predators," Bush, who was not part of the dive, said. This squid could have perceived the noisy robotic vehicle as a threat, and promptly fled with the eggs when the vehicle traveled close by.

The whole story can be found on Mashable.

A deep sea lake

OceanX has a new vessel called the OceanXplorer. Two of the deep sea vehicles are used to carry scientists, while the other two are used for research.

"On its maiden mission to the Red Sea, OceanXplorer made a surprising discovery: a brine pool, over 1,700 meters below the surface, teeming with otherworldly life, to be precise, life forms that survive in conditions we wouldn't believe." There is a brine pool in the Gulf of Aqaba. A brine pool is a body of water in the ocean that has a lot of salt in it.

OceanX and Mashable went on a deep sea expedition last year. This feature can be found on Mashable.

An ancient ocean brawl

a shark swimming up from the ocean depths

A graphic of a shark swimming up from the ocean depths. Credit: Baris-Ozer / Getty Images

Millions of years ago whales were hunted in the sea.

Some 20 to 3.6 million years ago, megalodons were the leading ocean predator. Scientists unearthed fascinating evidence of a predatory event when they found evidence of the now extinct marine legends. Fossil clues show that a small whale was attacked by a large shark.

Stephen Godfrey, the Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland, said that a megalodon attack would have spelled doom. The research was published in the journal.

Evidence of the ancient ocean encounter was found in the damaged whale vertebrae and megalodon tooth.

The full story can be found on the website.

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Big, deep sea crawlers found

top and bottom view of a large isopods

A newly identified species of deep sea isopod. Credit: Dr. Ming-Chih Huang / Journal of Natural History

Scientists found a new species of isopod that looked like a roly-poly. The deep sea has armored creatures that feast on fallen prey.

The species is 10 inches long. Other isopods can grow up to 20 inches, but that is a pretty big deep sea scavenger.

The Gulf of Mexico isopods swarm over and feast on an alligator carcass.

There will be more discoveries in the years to come. Large vessels with advanced robotic explorers will continue shining bright lights on the mysteries and fascinations that exist below.

The deep ocean has a lot of species that we don't know much about.