Watch five breathtaking underwater videos made by robots

Posted: 10/05/2011 in all marine news

Gizmodo –

Every year, the government gives scientists money that they use for amazingly cool things, like building robots that dive to extreme underwater depth and record video like this.

Thanks to funding from taxpayers and philanthropists (and, of course the Internets, which come to think of it also launched as a government program), you can sit on your couch in your underwear and watch magma flow deep under the sea.

This post is part of the Public Science Triumphs organized by our sister site io9 in partnership with several other publications that cover science. On November 23, the U.S. Congress has pledged that its budget supercommittee will present a proposal for US$1.2 trillion in cuts to government spending, which makes us fear for publicly-funded science institutions in the United States.

We hope the series will help you and U.S. government representatives remember that science is a non-partisan public good that enriches local and global economies – and makes it all the more awesome to be human.

The video above (you might want to turn down your sound; the scientists get excited) was recorded on equipment carried by the Jason remotely-operated vehicle, which you can see in the foreground. Jason was designed and built by the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute, which gets funding from federal agencies, private contributions, and endowments.

The vehicle gives scientists access to the seafloor without leaving the deck of a ship. In the video scientists witness for the first time glowing lava from a submarine volcanic eruption. The undersea volcano is part of the Mariana arc, which extends from south of Guam northward more than 800 nautical miles.

It’s amazing the lava is so hot that it remains red for a split second before the water snuffs it. It was recorded during the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (a government-funded institution) Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 exploration.

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