Earlier this spring, Peggy Delaney wrote about her expedition to drill core ocean floor samples for 60 Seconds in the Mid-Pacific. Delaney's two-month trip aboard the JOIDES Resolution Drill Ship presented some challenges, including finicky toilets and the difficulty of being away from home—"away from everything"—she says.

ScientificAmerican.com got an inside look at a similar research ship headed off the coast of New Jersey (see videos here) on an even longer, 80-day research trip for expedition 313.

But the trip was absolutely worth the trials, she explains: "It's always just so wonderful to be at sea to do that type of coring with a group." She delighted in "the power of working in a group of scientists, [uniting] with all different specialties to work on a single set of objectives. You really can't put it into words."

Delaney is back on terra firma, but she will have to wait until the fall to begin her analysis of the samples they collected. The samples will be prepared for analysis in a "sampling party" by a few of the researchers from the trip, and then she'll be able to really get to work.