Expedition Overview: Exploring Lōʻihi Seamount with SUBSEA
After crossing the Pacific, Exploration Vessel Nautilus will arrive in the Hawaiian Islands for the first time to launch an expedition with the SUBSEA (Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog) research program. This partnership between NASA Ames Research Center, NOAA OER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and various academic centers brings together both ocean and space exploration teams aboard E/V Nautilus to study how deep sea and interplanetary exploration could share similar approaches. The SUBSEA team will explore Lō`ihi Seamount, an underwater volcano off the Big Island of Hawai`i. The type of hydrothermal venting at this seamount is a good representation of conditions scientists believe exist on certain moons in the outer solar system, including Enceladus. The team will also investigate whether this site has been affected by recent Kīlauea volcanic activity.
This expedition marks the beginning of the multi-year SUBSEA (Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog) Research Program, a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and various academic centers. Bringing together both ocean and space exploration teams aboard E/V Nautilus, SUBSEA blends ocean exploration with ocean worlds research to address knowledge gaps related to the habitability potential of other planets in our Solar System.