In the deep, dark depths of the ocean, where chimneys spout hot black clouds of particles, there is life. Scientists are currently exploring the sea floor of the eastern Pacific Ocean using the research ship Nautilus, aided by its two hardy assistants Argus and Hercules – remotely operated vehicles. Gaining a better understanding of these harsh environments offers clues about whether life could survive on other worlds, and could inform future missions to Jupiter’s watery moon Europa. This video introduces the aims and the technology of the Nautilus mission, including video footage of the alien landscape that lies beneath the waves.

Find out more about the Nautilus mission in November’s Physics World, a special issue about the challenges for physicists working below the waterline. The issue includes an article by astronomer and science communicator Jon Willis about his time spent on the Nautilus ship earlier this year. Physics World managing editor Matin Durrani introduces our “Under the sea” special issue and explains how you can access it in this article published yesterday.