An Introduction to the Mission...
Up until 1977, only one kind of life was known; that supported by sunlight. But in that year everything changed. The famous research submersible Alvin was conducting a series of dives and stumbled upon the astounding world of hydrothermal vents, a totally new kind of ecosystem, supported by chemosynthesis. One can imagine the hydrothermal vents as geysers on the seafloor. These fascinating areas, according to some scientists, may be modern-day examples of environments where life began on life billions of years ago. The vents might also hold clues to life on other planets.
Today, almost a quarter of a century after hydrothermal vents were first discovered, many of their mysteries remain unsolved. A group of freshmen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have started a project that will further our understanding of vent systems. They designed a system to build a permanent underwater sea facility next to the Edmond Vent System, located in the Indian Ocean. This facility will accommodate up to sixteen scientists who will embark on a detailed study of the biology and geology of the vent system. This website embodies the work they have done on the project, codenamed Mission 2005: The Atlantis II Project.