Jerry van Andel sat alone on the bow of the RV Lulu, a floating dump of a ship, as it floated against the Pacific Ocean waves. Across the deck, a group of scientists flocked around a basket full of strange lifeforms, squirming from a massive crack on Earth, 10,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.
It was an important trip, but van Andel, an energetic Dutch oceanographer from Stanford University, did not jump around found with the rest of the team. He mused, leaning against the anchor windscreen. A ship friend, John Porteus, noticed and disturbed.
"What's up?" Asked Porteus.
"They didn't realize what we discovered," van Andel answered.
That was 1977. For the first time scientists observed life, thriving, in an oceanic slope on the ocean floor. They expect a desert; They found an oasis. Bizarre fish swim through the black smoke billowing out of the stone chimney. Molluscs cling to hydrothermal vents and other world-cracked worms – 6-foot-high tubes decorated with blood-red fur – swinging in the present.
RV Lulu's mission has no biologist. It is not designed to look for life on the ocean floor. But researchers still find it. Maintain a toxic hydrogen sulfide diet in complete darkness,Under pressure of crushing bones, this place really lives. As the buckets of samples were raised to the surface, van Andel immediately grasped the importance of the discovery: The definition of "life" was rewritten.