submarine to fund and begin documenting a massive river under the sea, known as a submarine channel -- the first ever directly observed. The river is so large that if it were on land, it would be the sixth largest river in the world. The torpedo-shaped autosub itself is a 23-foot long, unmanned craft which can be programmed to stay just safely above the channels where they'd encounter damage. It's equipped with an underwater speed camera which enable the team to observe in detail the flows within the channel. While little is known about what kind of lifeforms may lurk in these waters, the team's research puts science a little closer to understanding these unique rivers, and its full report will be published later this year in Geology.
[Image credit: R. Flood, ]