Nekton issues 360-degree deep-ocean video

Nekton issues 360-degree deep-ocean video

New scientific-research charity Nekton has released the first part of a 360-degree virtual-reality video designed to simulate a submersible dive to Challenger Deep, nearly seven miles down in the Pacific’s Marianas Trench and the ocean’s deepest-known point.

The video reflects the launch of Nekton’s first mission to explore the impact of human activities in the deep ocean. Its findings are to be released as part of the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey, a research programme investigating physical, chemical and biological indicators to assess deep-sea functions, health and resilience.

Scientists from a dozen marine-research institutes are involved in the month-long mission, which runs until 16 August. Based aboard two research vessels and focusing on Bermuda, Nova Scotia, the north-west Atlantic and Sargasso Sea, the aim is to employ cutting-edge technology including manned submersibles with spherical hulls, ROVs and 360° underwater cameras.

Canadian Coast Guard vessel Hudson is currently anchored off Bermuda while submersible-deployment ship Baseline Explorer explores the deep Atlantic around the island. 

The 10-minute “Journey to the Deep” video is being released in three episodes during the mission. Episode 1 takes viewers from the surface into the Twilight Zone (200-1000m), the second explores the Midnight & Abyssal Zones (1000-6000m), and the third the Hadopelagic Zone (6000-11,000m).

“While 12 people have walked on the moon, only three people have been to full ocean depth,” says Nekton’s co-founder, mission director and submersible pilot Oliver Steeds. “People have spent 300 hours on the moon and only 3 hours at full ocean depth.

“Viewers will experience the descent into the darkest depths of the ocean, and encounter the inhabitants and hundreds of facts about the least-known frontier on our planet. Look out for hammerhead sharks, blue whales, sperm whales and the terrifying fangtooth fish.”

The videos can be viewed online at the Nekton Mission YouTube Channel and Facebook page via a smartphone and virtual-reality headset, or via tablet or computer using keystrokes to move through a 360° line of sight.

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