January 8, 2014 Slideshow

François Thomas carefully removes the protective backing from a filter he’ll use to extract bacterial cells from vent fluid.

Craig Taylor and Dionysis Foustoukos discuss the technical details of high-pressure experiments in the Atlantis’ main lab.

Nadine Le Bris holds one of her tiny electrode sensors, which is used to sense the pH levels of vent fluid. The sensor, which she has adapted for use at hydrothermal vents, was originally developed for doctors to monitor the pH of patients’ stomachs.

Xiao Xiang warms up for a match with Ileana Pérez-Rodríguez. He’s rapidly advancing in the ping-pong tournament, which we started on New Year’s Day, and his fierce forehand is becoming legendary on Atlantis.

The first of these chemical equations, sketched out on paper towels that line Jeff Seewald’s lab bench, shows the oxidation of formate—a chemical that’s common at vent sites—into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The equation below that shows how formate is created from formic acid, another common vent chemical.

Sean Sylva crawls underneath Jason to connect control cables for IGT samplers that the vehicle will deploy later in the day.

Technician Phil Santos works to remove a small air bubble inside a pressure gauge near Jason’s hydraulic reservoir.

Expedition Leader Tito Collasius examines the end of Jason’s faulty tether cable. Although the vehicle’s technicians expected to need most of the day to install a new tether, they were able to complete the job in just three hours—a new record for them.

Sean Sylva holds a piece of fiber-optic cable from Nereus, one of WHOI’s newest remotely operated vehicles. The fragile line, which is slightly thicker than a human hair, is similar to the one that snapped inside Jason’s tether earlier today.

As Jason is lowered into the water, electrical technician Rick Sanger carefully feeds the vehicle’s newly installed tether cable over the side of the ship.


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