For the last eight days, the Global Explorer ROV (remote operated vehicle) has been on an underwater mission off the coast of Chesapeake Bay, in an area called the US Mid-Atlantic margin, where the shallow continental shelf drops off into deep ocean. And lucky for us, Motherboard is reporting, it's been livestreaming its explorations, revealing giant whale skeletons, rare corals, crabs and all kinds of fish.
The purpose of the expedition expedition, led by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), is to explore methane seeps. Methane seeps are also called "cold seeps," though this does not mean that they are any colder than the surrounding water; rather, it is to distinguish them from the much hotter hydrothermal vents.
Why explore methane seeps? They are a unique environment that hosts plenty of interesting oceanic life forms and fascinating geological features, including mussels and other organisms that rely on chemosynthetic bacteria for nourishment -- ecosystems that subsist on hydrocarbons rather than sunlight.
The Global Explorer's mission is scheduled to end today, and we'll be sad to see the end of the livestream. We're hoping for a greatest hits compilation -- and a new expedition -- soon.