Scientific confusion over a marine creature found in Alaska

On August 30, the researchers and technicians aboard the Okeanos Explorer, a North American NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientific vessel, which is still on a mission in the Gulf of Alaska, were shocked when one of the ship’s mini-submarines, operated by remote control, he encountered something totally unexpected at a depth of 3,300 meters.

There, firmly attached to a bedrock and surrounded by a colony of white sponges, the researchers gazed in amazement at a strange, smooth, golden-colored, dome-shaped specimen about 10 cm in diameter. A small hole near its base revealed that the interior was also the same color.

“While we were able to collect the ‘golden orb’ and bring it to the ship, we are still unable to identify it beyond the fact that it is of biological origin,” Sam Candio, NOAA scientist and coordinator of the Seascape Alaska 5 expedition, explained in a statement. : Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping.

“We probably won’t learn more until we can get it into a laboratory where we can continue to leverage the collective expertise of the scientific community with more sophisticated tools than we can keep on the ship.

“While it is a little humbling to be stumped by this finding, it serves as a reminder of how little we know about our own planet and how much there is still to learn and appreciate about our ocean,” Candio said.

The NOAA Seascape Alaska expedition that found the orb is a mission aimed at learning more about the deep, relatively unknown waters off the coast of Alaska.

And of course, about its inhabitants, both known and unknown. The mission will continue until September 16, with more remotely operated vehicle dives that anyone can follow live at this internet address.