Alvin will help scientists unlock deep ocean mysteries

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Renowned explorer Robert Ballard has scoured the deep sea for decades in search of its mysteries.

Fascinated by Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” as a child, the oceanographer is most associated with discovering the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985 — a find that was actually part of a secret US military mission. He and Alvin, a three-person submersible, returned to the site in 1986 to capture imagery revealing artifacts left behind by those who had perished.

Ballard helped develop Alvin in the 1960s at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Together, he and Alvin have dived into the deep to observe underwater mountain ranges and uncover thermal vents.

And now, 99% of the seafloor is within humanity’s reach, thanks to a familiar name: Alvin.

Alvin team members Matt Skorina (left) and Kaitlyn Beardshear prepare the submersible for recovery after a dive.

The ocean’s deepest zones are a vastly unexplored area, but after a serious upgrade Alvin is ready to take people directly to this remote place of wonder.

The submersible reached a record depth of 4 miles (6,453 meters) over the summer when crews visited the Puerto Rico Trench and Mid-Cayman Rise, where tectonic plates create mystifying underwater landscapes and strange marine animals float by.

Researchers collected samples from the ocean floor, including unknown creatures and the chemical belches of hydrothermal vents.

With direct access to the sea floor, scientists expect to find the fundamentals of life.

Astronomers have confirmed that the DART spacecraft successfully changed the motion of the asteroid Dimorphos when it intentionally slammed into the space rock last month, according to NASA.

The deflection test shortened Dimorphos’ orbit around its larger companion asteroid Didymos by 32 minutes — the first time humanity has ever shifted the motion of a celestial object.

Meanwhile, the James Webb Space Telescope spied what happens when two massive stars violently interact with each other. Every eight years, they release a dust plume, creating nested rings that resemble a giant spiderweb.

And astronomers detected an unusual element in the upper atmosphere of two hot exoplanets where liquid iron and gems rain down from the skies.

The Rosetta stone has been at The British Museum in London since 1802.

French soldiers who came across a broken slab of stone covered with inscriptions in 1799 had no idea it would unlock the secrets of ancient Egypt.

Carved on the dark, granite-like stone were indecipherable hieroglyphics, the simplified Egyptian demotic script and ancient Greek. At the time, scholars only understood ancient Greek.

It took Egyptologists two decades to decrypt the meaning of the scripts once they began working on it in 1802. By deciphering the Egyptian texts, they opened up a way to understand the past.

A new exhibit at The British Museum in London explores the race to decode the Rosetta stone and celebrates the 200th anniversary of the breakthrough.

For many, William Shatner will always be Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise. But when the actor ventured into space in 2021 on a Blue Origin suborbital flight, he had a far different experience than in any scene from “Star Trek.”

Shifting his gaze from Earth to the cosmos, he said, overturned all his preconceived notions of space. “All I saw was death,” he wrote in his new book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder.”

Shatner described feeling intense grief as he briefly left his home planet behind. “It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. … And I was leaving her.” No longer earthbound, his thoughts turned to how humans are destroying the planet.

Meanwhile, Artemis I is gearing up for a third launch attempt on a journey around the moon on November 14, with a 69-minute launch window that opens at 12:07 am ET.

Images that capture buzzing bees, battling Alpine ibex and heavenly flamingos are some of the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 competition.

The grand title award went to Karine Aigner for “The big buzz,” which shows a ball of male cactus bees fighting to mate with a sole female. The image, shot at “bee level,” depicts a disappearing species threatened by pesticides and habitat loss.

The world’s wildlife populations plummeted by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018 due to Earth’s changing climate and human activity, according to a new report by the World Wide Fund for Nature. While the natural world is nearing a tipping point, immediate conservation efforts could slow and even reverse these losses.

These findings might blow your mind:

— Astronomers have discovered the Milky Way’s massive graveyard of ancient dead stars — and they also found where supernova explosions kicked some of them right out of the galaxy.

— Brain cells in a lab dish could play the video game Pong, and the neurons were able to move the paddle to hit the ball in a goal-oriented way, according to scientists.

— Paleontologists found mummified dinosaur skin, and it still bears the teeth marks of a predator that chomped on it 67 million years ago.

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