It’s been a turbulent week here in the United States, to say the least. I think we can all use a little dose of wonder courtesy America’s scientists. As I promised last month, here’s another snippet from ocean exploration that took place last summer – in this case, a find made by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s exploration ship Okeanos Explorer on June 17 while exploring the Pacific Ocean around the Marianas Trench. 522 meters is 1,712 feet.

I have NO idea what that green stuff is. It looks vaguely like a sea anemone both in color and texture, but I have never seen one so diffuse or growing on a coral like Gorgon hair. The NOAA science team was also baffled but suggested a sponge or alga, but neither of those make sense to me since sponges have skeletons and it’s far too dark for algae (and why would algae ONLY be on that coral if they somehow drifted down from above?)

The larger takeaway here is the beauty and oddity of this little community. We live on a gorgeous, astounding planet, my friends, in a wonderful and immense universe, and just like the crab and the brittle star and the bubblegum coral and the … whatever, as Gonzo would say … we have each other. Don’t lose sight of these facts. No one can ever take them away.