Researchers have captured three different giant squid babies off the coasts of western and south-western Japan. This is the first time this has EVER happened in the whole world! 🐙 I’m absolutely terrified of giant squid (thanks to this exhibit at the AMNH), but I’m also obsessed with these fascinating creatures of the deep.
According to National Geographic, giant squid are thought to reach sizes up to 60 feet (18 meters), but because they live at such great ocean depths adults have never been studied in the wild – let alone babies.
The Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo prefecture said researchers caught three individuals of small, young giant squid (Architeuthis due) in or near Japanese coastal waters from April–June 2013. The discovery was published last week in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records.
The first baby giant squid was recorded on the coast off Kyushu Island, southern Japan. The remaining two were caught dead in fishing nets off the coast of Shimane, south-western Japan. Giant squid are the world’s largest invertebrates but each baby weighed in at under a pound and ranged from 5-13 inches in length.
I guess they aren’t so scary when they are just one foot long! Needless to say the scientific community is excited by this discovery. Researcher Toshifumi Wada told The Wall Street Journal, “This is the first time in the world that such young giant squid were found, and it has helped us understand what they are like this early in their life stage.”
Russian fishermen were left stunned when a massive colossal squid tried to steal the latest catch off the side of their boat – and it was all caught on video! 🐙
Michael Vecchione, an adjunct scientist at NOAA’s National Systematics Lab and giant squid expert, told The Huffington Post the creature seen in the video below is in fact a colossal squid, not a giant squid. This can be a tough call to make given that the cephalopod relatives are both mythical creatures of the deep, rarely seen alive.
Screen Shot: LiveLeak via YouTube
Screen Shot: LiveLeak via YouTube
Colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) are slightly shorter than giant squid (Architeuthis dux), but have a larger, heavier body. Giant squid live deep underwater and manage to avoid human contact – for the most part. The largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. YIKES.
Watch the crazy colossal squid footage below – published to YouTube on July 23!
NASA’s latest proposal looks like a sci-fi film in the making. The project calls for the use of a soft-robotic rover that resembles a squid -tentacles included- for missions that can’t be accomplished with conventional power systems.
The ‘robosquid’ looks like an eel with a short antenna on its back. The antenna harvests power from locally changing magnetic fields. Ideally, NASA would like to enable amphibious exploration (both land and sea) of gas-giant moons like Europa!
Side Note: If they made Sharknado they can make Robosquid. I grew up loving movies like Anaconda, Congo, and Sphere. I’m picturing the same vibe, starring Nathan Fillion, Jon Bernthal, Ludacris, and Kate Upton. Hey J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon – Think about it! 😉
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC)
The ‘robosquid’ is just one of 15 proposals selected by NASA for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that aims to turn science fiction into science fact through the development of pioneering technologies.
“The latest NIAC selections include a number of exciting concepts,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We are working with American innovators to reimagine the future of aerospace and focus our investments on concepts to address challenges of current interests both in space and here on Earth.”
NASA hopes the knowledge gained from these proposed studies will bring it closer to its goal of exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, and missions to asteroids and Mars.
The projects are chosen through a peer-review process that evaluates their potential, technical approach and benefits that can be realized in a reasonable timeframe. All concepts are very early in the development cycle and represent multiple technology areas, including aircraft propulsion, human life support, science instruments, unique robotic concepts and exploring other diverse technology paths needed to meet NASA’s strategic goals.
NIAC Phase I awards are valued at approximately $100,000, providing awardees the funding needed to conduct a nine-month initial definition and analysis study of their concepts.