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Dr. Ballard and the rest of the Institute for Exploration expedition team have launched the 2005 mission to the hydrothermal vent field of the Lost City .
Located in the mid-Atlantic Ridge, this 10-day expedition will conduct round-the-clock explorations to collect geological and biological data from this area. The Lost City hydrothermal vent field is like no other place on Earth. With magnificently venting limestone pinnacles of the Lost City, which lie nearly 2,100 feet underwater, this area supports many different microbial life forms that thrive in the warm, hydrogen and methane rich fluids that surround the field.
"If the Lost City had been discovered on land instead of 2,100 feet under the ocean, it would be a national park as beautiful and compelling as Yellowstone," stated Dr. Robert Ballard.
In the 1970s, scientists discovered a thriving animal community among warm water vents and chimneys at the Galapagos Rift in the Pacific Ocean. Rich with hydrogen sulfides (poisonous to most land animals), scientists were stunned to discover a variety of weird looking marine animals, including six-foot long tubeworms, foot-long clams, crabs and muscles.
"It seems that in the total darkness was a thriving animal community living not off the energy of the sun through photosynthesis like other major organic systems of our planet, but living instead off the energy of the Earth itself," Ballard said.
Dr. Ballard and other scientists believe that it is possible that other planets with geological formations similar to Earth's - especially Jupiter's moon, Europa, or Saturn's moon, Titan, may support or have supported similar biological life.
This program brings together the excitement of investigating a submarine hot springs system like no other seen yet within the worlds oceans, and the institute for Exploration's groundbreaking technology allowing shore-based scientists nearly 5,000 miles away to conduct "seagoing" research in real time via satellite and Internet2 transmissions.
Join us at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration July 23rd through August 1st for live broadcasts from the expedition in the Challenge of the Deep. Show times are 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Shows will be broadcast in the Titanic Live! Theater. Get your free tickets at the information booth!
For additional information on Life at the Extremes, visit Immersion Learning.
|The mission of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which includes Mystic Aquarium, Ocean Exploration Center and JASON Learning, is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.|
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