The vastness of the ocean depths hides all manner of mysterious things -- alive and otherwise. Well, just before the New Year, and while looking for a routine "crab sample," scientists aboard the 211-foot-long Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus happened to capture footage of this neon burst of beauty in the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Baja California, Mexico, at 1225 metres (4,019 feet) below sea level, via their remotely controlled deep water vehicle, dubbed Hercules. Watch this remarkable creature move:
According to the team, it's a Halitrephes maasi jellyfish, which they liken to a sudden barrage of "deep sea fireworks," illuminated by human intervention:
Radial canals that move nutrients through the jelly's bell form a starburst pattern that reflects the lights of ROV [remotely operated underwater vehicle] Hercules with bright splashes of yellow and pink -- but without our lights this gelatinous beauty drifts unseen in the dark.
The ongoing project is currently collecting biological and geological data on oceanic seamounts (underwater mountains) of this largely unexplored part of the eastern Pacific, in the hopes of better understanding their role in the greater ecological picture.
This chance encounter is one the many that the deep sea exploration mission has already come across, including sightings of mysterious purple blobs, and an adorable googly-eyed squid. Science is an exacting discipline, but it's these moments of pure wonder and discovery that make it more than worthwhile. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can watch it live via the mission's YouTube channel and their website.