Captivating footage from the deepest place on Earth is being streamed live online.
A remotely-operated sea vehicle is prowling the area around the Mariana Trench, trying to find out more about one of the most remote and mysterious places on the planet.
The Trench has a depth of just under 11km (6.8 miles) and lies just east of the Philippines. The live footage is being commentated on by a team of scientists – identified only by their first names.
They have been pointing out the abundant flora and fauna on the ocean floor, such as sea cucumbers, starfish, anemones, tripod fish and eels.
The video stream cuts between the robot’s view of the sea bed, and the control room in which staff are analysing the footage.
The robot belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Okeanos Explorer, which is now several weeks into a three-month expedition.
The mission will last until July, and the niche live stream has proved to be a surprise hit – with thousands of people tuning in throughout the day.
Deep sea ecologist Diva Amon told the LA Times: “A lot of what we’re seeing has never been seen by human eyes before.
“That makes us incredibly lucky – and all those viewers who are tuning in very lucky.”
A few days ago, the explorer stumbled upon a gold-and-red jellyfish while exploring the area.
The jelly belonged to the genus Crossota, and scientists believe it could represent a species new to science.
In 2012 Titanic director James Cameron successfully carried out a one-man mission into the Trench in a lime green submarine called Deepsea Challenger.