The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is running a livestream, complete with delightful commentary, of their exploration of the deep sea. As the NOAA put it, they want to "allow the world public to ‘join’ the team in making real-time discoveries from hundreds to thousands of meters below the ocean surface." From now until August 17 you can watch the team of the Okeanos explore the ocean floor off the northeast coast of the United States.
Depending on how much of a marine biology nerd you are, this is either the best thing ever or just worth a brief viewing. For instance, according to the expedition's daily updates, yesterday's highlights were "the large Lophelia pertusa colonies, additional examples of predation, a new soft coral observation, and several small colonies of Acanthogorgia on rocks scattered around 500 m." There's been a lot of twitter chatter from would be amateur scientists enraptured by squat lobsters, fascinated by the diets of shrimp and just plain living out their marine biologist dreams.
If you're into the biology fine-print, here's the scientific justification for the exploration, from expedition coordinators Kelley Elliott and Brian Kennedy:
During July and August 2013, the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will work with the ocean science community to systematically explore the northeast U.S. canyons and Mytilus Seamount, one of the easternmost seamounts along the New England Seamount Chain. During these missions, we will collect critical data and information for the science and management communities, specifically targeting areas where both cold seep and coral communities are likely to occur. Furthermore, we will survey physical and oceanographic features, including where potential landslides may have occurred or will likely occur, to further our understanding of the diverse and dynamic geology and oceanography of the region.
The feed will run from approximately 8:30AM ET to 4:00PM ET every day from today until the conclusion of the expedition on Saturday August 17. View all three livestreams here.