The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in its various incarnations, has been delivering us valuable data about our world for over two centuries. It closely monitors the environment, provides surprisingly accurate weather forecasts, and does important scientific research to help us understand and protect our ecosystem. Right now, a team of NOAA scientists are exploring and mapping out the Mariana Trench, and they’re streaming the expedition live on YouTube.
From April 20th to July 10th, NOAA is executing a three-part deepwater exploration in the Mariana Trench and surrounding areas. Featuring the deepest portion of any ocean, this unimaginably dark and mysterious place has been something of an obsession for scientists and successful directors all over the globe. Now, we get an unfiltered look at what it’s like gathering data miles under the sea.
On Camera 2, we currently get to see a live video feed from the venture itself. Sometimes there’s commentary and interesting deep sea visuals, but often we get little more than a static shot with silence. It’s important to remember that research is often time-consuming and tedious, so don’t expect a riveting production at all times. After all, scientists have to sleep too.
Over at Camera 1, we’ve seen it range from a live feed of visualizations from NOAA to different angles of what we see on Camera 2. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of deep-sea exploration, this is a good way to “play along at home.”
Finally, we have Camera 3. This live stream sometimes shows off previously recorded footage, so you can get in on the more interesting aspects of the exploration while nothing exciting is happening on the live feed. As of right now, it’s showing off a command center. Just remember that the feeds will change up depending on what NOAA wants to show off.
While we’ve already visited the likes of the Challenger Deep (over 6.7 miles below sea level), there’s still a lot to learn about this bizarre part of our planet. Not only are there various visible creatures and microorganisms, but there are crazy geological structures (like mud volcanoes) down there as well.
By exploring and documenting these remote areas in the depths of the Pacific, NOAA is laying the groundwork for much more in-depth research down the road. Armed with the “baseline data” from this venture, scientists will be able to waste less time searching around, and spend more time actually gathering usable data.
If you want to learn more, NOAA also offers daily updates, a photo/video log, and a live ship-tracker. And if you’re a teacher, NOAA has even prepared and “Expedition Education Module” to make it easier to integrate this research into the classroom.
Update: A previous version of this article didn’t properly indicate that the three feeds will change at will. This has been corrected.