Robot to explore the mysteries of the deep

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Skimming past otherworldly tube worms and bizarre crustaceans as they traversed primordial sediments in inky darkness seven miles below the surface, an unmanned yellow robot two weeks ago became the world's deepest-diving unmanned submersible.

The craft, called Nereus, gave scientists on the surface their first long look at a portion of the Challenger Deep 35,768 feet (10,902 meters) down in the Mariana Trench. The trench is a gash in the Earth's crust in the volcanic Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific tectonic plate collides with a smaller plate and plunges into the mantle.

Click here to read the full report in the Washington Post.