A virtual descent to the Twilight Zone of the deep ocean

The Nekton mission aims to assess the health of the deep ocean with cutting-edge tools

Though 100 per cent of the ocean floor has been mapped by radar, less than 1 per cent has actually been seen, explored and documented fully. The Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the Earth's oceans – has yielded all sorts of exotic and bizarre creatures including the blobfish and the goblin shark, yet there have only been four descents to its depths since the first in 1960.

Nekton, a multidisciplinary marine research organisation, has embarked on its first mission to assess the health of the deep ocean. The expedition uses cutting-edge technology including manned submersibles with fully spherical hulls, remotely operated vehicles and underwater 360-degree cameras.

In order to recreate the experience for fans of deep-sea exploration, they have released a series of 3D virtual reality videos showing the descent to the Twilight Zone (200-1,000 metres) and beyond. You can also follow @NektonMission on Twitter as they document their progress day by day.