How do scientists explore the deep sea?

The Nekton Mission used two submersibles, Nomad and Nemo. Nemo was the transect submersible, equipped with a GoPro system to conduct video transects. A video transect involves piloting along a set route at a steady speed, recording video. This recording can then be analyzed by researchers back at university. Nomad was the sampling submersible equipped with a range of tools for taking further samples, as well as a specialized video camera. Both submersibles have hydraulic arms for collecting physical samples.

The science work during the expedition did not stop with sample collection and video recording. On the research vessel were two science container laboratories. The science worked here, conducting initial analysis on some of the samples and also preparing them for storage. It is important that the samples are properly preserved so that they do not alter before they can be analyzed further at more specialized facilities back at universities.

The path from collecting samples to sharing with results in a peer-reviewed scientific paper can take up to 18 months. The samples are collected, prepared and stored on board before further work is conducted back at the researchers’ universities. To ensure that the samples do not decompose or alter, they were stored in this refrigerated container (at 2 degrees C / 35.6 degrees F). Chemical preservatives such as ethanol were also used.

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