Meanwhile, landlubbing researchers will analyze the DNA and RNA of the mysterious purple orb to try to figure out where it fits in the tree of life.
A side view of the probable marine mollusk found in Arguello Canyon. Researchers found this organism on a rocky, muddy seafloor alongside a crab, clams and brittle stars.
Researchers were stumped upon first encountering the orb through the cameras of their remotely operated vehicle Hercules. Onboard, the bumpy sphere relaxed into a lobular, slug-like form. [Read the full story on the purple orb]
The mystery purple blob awaits analysis in a tank aboard the E/V Nautilus. Live-streaming of the expedition allows the public to follow along with science in action, Ocean Exploration Trust founder and president Robert Ballard said in a statement.
"Lewis and Clark traveled for more than two years and had to wait to return home to share what they'd seen. Now, the moment a discovery is made, scientists can virtually step aboard the ship and share findings in real time as well as help direct the minute-by- minute operations," Ballard said. "This is a voyage of discovery everyone can make." [Read the full story on the purple orb]
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.