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Exploring the abyss

It remains one of the great unexplored zones of our planet.

The deep ocean makes up 80 per cent of the Earth’s habitable environment, but only a fraction of its plant and animal species have been observed by man.

But now an extraordinary project will see a permanent ocean observatory established on the sea floor off the United States, allowing scientists to monitor the ocean’s depths around the clock.

Powered by a cable stretching over 50km from the mainland, the Monterey Accelerated Research System laboratory will be located nearly one kilometre beneath the surface and could identify whole new branches of life.

The news has excited Australian marine experts working on cataloguing our own deep ocean life and who hope a similar project may one day be possible here.

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