First Kolumbo, next the moons


Robots used in last week’s international oceanographic seabed survey of Kolumbo, a submarine volcano about 7 kilometers northeast of the island of Santorini, discovered hitherto unknown hydrothermal vents forming cylindrical chimney structures, around which are flourishing bacterial communities.

The mission, funded and supported by NASA and Maritech International, consisted of 30 scientists from the US, Greece, Australia and Germany and tested new “intelligent” technologies with autonomous underwater vehicles that could be used in the future to explore extraterrestrial oceans such as those on Jupiter’s moons Enceladus and Europa.