A mysterious golden ‘skin-like’ orb was uncovered off the Pacific coast of Alaska, according to an August statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The bizarre orb was found using a remotely operated vehicle diving some 3,300 meter (roughly two miles) off the Gulf of Alaska, according to the NOAA statement. The “smooth, gold, dome-shaped specimen” is a little more than four inches in diameter, and was tightly stuck to a rock on the ocean floor.
Scientists were stumped upon viewing the orb, theorizing it could be a dead sponge, coral, or even an egg casting. “Isn’t the deep sea so delightfully strange?” NOAA Ocean Exploration expedition coordinator Sam Candio said in the statement.
Footage of the orb in-situ was shared on Twitter, and it is so weird.
At around 3,300 meters (2 miles) below the surface off the coast of Alaska, where the warm light of the Sun never penetrates pic.twitter.com/TxfnYrm5xF
— Landon Maccann (@LandonMaccann) September 8, 2023
“While we were able to collect the ‘golden orb’ and bring it onto the ship, we still are not able to identify it beyond the fact that it is biological in origin. We likely won’t learn more until we are able to get it into a laboratory setting where we can continue to pull from the collective expertise of the scientific community with more sophisticated tools than we are able to maintain on the ship. While somewhat humbling to be stumped by this finding, it serves as a reminder of how little we know about our own planet and how much is left to learn and appreciate about our ocean,” Candio continued. (RELATED: ‘Are You Kidding Me? This Is Crazy’: Scientists Stumble Upon Never-Before-Seen Underwater ‘Road’)
It’s wholly unclear whether the orb comes from a known species, a new species, or an unknown life stage of an existing animal. The tissue on the orb felt “skin-like,” according to the Guardian. Let’s hope we haven’t disrupted some hideous alien creature that’ll hatch and eat us, eh?