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NASA will visit an undersea volcano in Hawaii to figure out how to hunt for aliens


NASA doesn't have an exploration vessel, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does, so NASA is partnering with the seafaring agency to study Lo'ihi for 21 days. Remote operated vehicles (ROVs) will be sent down to Lo'ihi to collect rocks and observe the vibrant microbial community around the volcano. 


"It's extremely rich in diversity," Craig Moyer, a volcano microbiologist at Western Washington University who has been studying Lo'ihi for over two decades, said in an interview. 

Life down around Lo'ihi isn't just abundant in microbial chemotrophs — which feed exclusively on chemicals in a lightless world — but these communities change in parallel with Lo'ihi's fluctuating activity, said Moyer.

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Monday, June 11, 2018 - 8:52am