Nautilus Live yesterday posted this wonderful video capture of a sperm whale checking out the ROV Hercules. The ROV – remotely operated underwater vehicle – was tethered 598 meters (1,962 ft) below the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana at the time.
The whale circled Hercules several times and gave the cameras the chance to capture some incredible footage of this beautiful creature. What was the whale doing? R.R. Helm at Deep Sea News wrote:
Sperm whales are among the world’s deepest diving mammals–plunging to the abyss in search of their elusive squid prey. For this sperm whale, the depth of the ROV–a mere 598 meters (1,962 ft) – was still relatively shallow. What was it doing when it happened upon the ROV? Was it hunting for giant squid? Checking out the ROV as possible food? Or was it simply curious, getting a good look at this odd glowing machine in the inky darkness? We’ll never really know. Whatever the reason, it was an incredible thing to witness.
E/V Nautilus is exploring the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. Watch for LIVE video from Nautilus from the ocean floor.
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Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.