Surveying Pele's Pit Crater on Lōʻihi Seamount
Lōʻihi Seamount is an underwater volcano 35km off the Big Island of Hawai'i, but its hydrothermal venting makes it a possible analog to what researchers think may be found in ocean worlds elsewhere in the solar system. As the SUBSEA team aboard Nautilus explored Pele's Pit crater near Lōʻihi's summit, bright yellow expanses stretched over lava rock--likely iron oxide deposits from active venting or iron-eating microbes.
Learn more about the SUBSEA research program aboard E/V Nautilus, a partnership between NASA Ames Research Center, NOAA OER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and various academic centers bringing together both ocean and space exploration.
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.