January 6, 2014 Slideshow

Jason Electronics Technician Casey Agee examines the homing device on an elevator shortly before its deployment.

Looking down over the bow of the Atlantis, the world is a wash of blues and whites as the ship plows through the water of the Pacific Ocean.

Geochemist Dionysis Foustoukos adjusts a pump attached to his high-pressure flow-through reactor. Foustoukos, postdoctoral researcher Ileana Pérez-Rodríguez, and undergraduate Matt Rawls will use the device to experiment on bacteria from deep-sea vents.

Geochemist Jeff Seewald gives a sample the “sniff test” to detect sulfides—chemicals commonly found in vent fluid that smell like rotten eggs. “The human nose is an incredibly sensitive organ,” he said. “You can usually tell if there are sulfides in there with one sniff.”

Left to right, Costa Vetriani, Xiao Xiang, Xi Wei, and Ashley Grosche gather around pieces of a hydrothermal vent structure collected by Jason. The samples arrived on an elevator minutes before this photo was taken.

A close-up view of a deep-sea vent sample. As hydrothermal fluid passed through the two holes at the center of the sample, it deposited these glittering yellow specks of iron sulfide, or pyrite, which is also called “fool’s gold.”

During a night shift in the Jason van, Expedition Leader and Pilot Tito Collasius (center) gives postodoctoral researcher Donato Giovannelli (left) a chance to “fly” the remotely operated vehicle over the ocean floor.

Atlantis Able-bodied Seaman Lance Wills practices with a fire hose during an afternoon safety drill on the bow of the ship.


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