You know what’s awesome? When scientists are so excited about the work they’re doing, they put it all on show for us to watch from the comfort of our smartphone screens, like this amazing live feed from an underwater rover exploring the depths of the Mariana Trench.
What’s so addictive about this particular live feed – which is running till the end of the expedition on July 10 – is that at any given moment, that intrepid rover could come across something no human has ever seen before. With new estimates saying we’re yet to discover 99.999 percent of the 1 trillion species on Earth… the odds of us seeing something new are pretty freaking high.
Case in point: this ridiculous jellyfish, which researchers from the NOAA’s ship Okeanos Explorer spotted at a depth of 3,700 metres (2.3 miles) in the aptly named Enigma Seamount – a deep, underwater ridge just west of the Mariana Trench.
As Jennifer Frazer reports for Scientific American, the team behind the discovery suspect that this strange soggy alien jelly belongs to the genus Crossota – a group known for being drifters from birth till death.
“They also believe this animal is an ambush predator,” says Frazer. “Note the posture it had assumed in the first half of the video: its bell motionless with its tentacles outstretched like the struts of a spider’s web, waiting for something to bumble into them.”
Oh and those pretty, bright yellow orbs floating underneath its transparent bell? They’re probably its gonads, so quit staring.
The jelly has yet to be formally classified – that kind of thing can take months, maybe even years, to finalise – so for now, let’s just appreciate how incredibly lucky we are that the Okeanos’s rover was in the right place and the right time to catch a glimpse of this ridiculous creature.
Also spotted during this particular dive was this slightly creepy Field of Balls (caps mine, because I had to), which the researchers think is a vast colony of Gromia sphaerica amoebas, which are single-celled marine organisms that grow into spheres.
If alien jellies and fields of balls are your thing, keep an eye on the feed below, so you don’t miss out on seeing these kinds of discoveries happen in real time. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a ninja shark or two.