In a depth-defying feat of dazzling daring last year, the robot known as Nereus dove to the deepest spot in the ocean and spent 10 hours exploring a spot that is deeper than Mount Everest is high.
The record-setting Nereus collected samples from the seafloor with the help of a hefty manipulator arm (as seen in the image). Engineers at WHOI built Nereus to endure the deep sea's intense pressures, which effectively load each square inch of its surface with roughly 15,000 pounds--the same level of pressure you were to feel if someone placed three Hummers on your big toe.
On May 31, 2009, Nereus proved its seafaring mettle and plunged to a depth of 6.8 miles in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. Robots like Nereus will make it much easier for scientists to explore vast regions of the deep ocean that were once off-limits.