It's a world that, until a few years ago, no one knew existed. EXTREME DEEP: Mission to the Abyss offers opportunities for hands-on exploration of life at the bottom of the sea. Presented by Evergreen Exhibitions in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, this interactive exhibit highlights the adventure of deep-sea exploration and discovery.

EXTREME DEEP depicts the mysteries of the ocean's greatest depths. Newly discovered life forms, thermal vents, close-up views of deep-sea research submersibles, and shipwrecks, including the Titanic, are among the attractions in this deep-sea adventure. Museum visitors will observe firsthand the technology that has only recently allowed men and women to travel to the ocean floor.

EXTREME DEEP puts the technology of deep-sea exploration in the hands of guests where they can guide submersible Alvin into another exciting trip to the abyss.

Visitors join fellow explorers in a replica of Alvin 's personnel sphere, which they can operate to simulate a dive to depths of up to three miles. They can fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic's deck. They can also test their skill at manipulating Alvin's robotic arm by picking up lava rocks and clams from the sea floor while peering through a recreation of Alvin's four-inch viewport window. It's not as easy at it looks! Geologic forces deep within the earth drive the great crustal plates of our planet, building seafloor features that create hydrothermal vents. Researchers study the process firsthand in WHOI's submersible Alvin, or using other tools like the remotely operated vehicle JASON and autonomous underwater vehicles ABE and REMUS.

EXTREME DEEP brings the sea floor to the surface in an amazing display that illustrates the magnificent engineering feats of Mother Nature, such as the building of enormous "black smokers" that spew mineral rich fluid into the ocean supporting life vastly different from that flourishing on land or shallow water. The exhibit allows museum visitors the opportunity to walk along a dramatically recreated ocean environment, something that is impossible to do in the real ocean because of the crushing pressure of the water.

This enthralling space features many of the creatures, each depicted in full, lifelike detail, living thousands of feet below the surface around the deep-sea vents. Based on the findings of WHOI researchers and their colleagues, some scientists theorize that similar life may await discovery in outer space. The discovery of the earth's vent site creatures, which do not need sunlight to survive, suggests that life can exist wherever there is water, heat and nutrients. A likely celestial body is one of Jupiter's moons, Europa, which appears to be covered by ice which some believe may harbor a deep, underground ocean of water.

EXTREME DEEP highlights the Mission to Europa in a video. EXTREME DEEP, designed for ages 6 and older, introduces biology, chemistry, geology, history, exploration and the critical role that technology plays in understanding our world and its future. INTERACTIVES Prepare a deep-sea submersible for a dive of more than 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface. Discover new species thriving in complete darkness. Guide a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, to explore shipwrecks thousands of feet below the support ship.



Exhibit Support Provided in Part by our Community Partners