Want to visit another planet? Go deep. The diversity – and strangeness – of life in the oceanic depths challenges the most fertile imaginations found in fantasy and science fiction. Bioluminescent jellies signal to their prey. Angler fish dangle a glowing morsel just above their enormous, needle-toothed jaws. Creatures both beautiful and, to our dry-land eyes, frightening. But life abounds.
When I was in middle school (quite a long time ago), I found a book in our small town library called “The Abyss.” I don’t know who authored it and cannot find it on the enormous number of websites that might reveal it to my own increasingly abyssal memory, but it was mesmerizing for a 12-year old. Full of fascinating, real-life monsters that glowed. It even had bioluminescence science fair experiments, although with reagents I could not readily obtain. While we have a huge universe spread before us in every upward direction, we understand so little of what we have on earth.