The Canyons CSI 2013 research cruise will be using a towed camera system, called the TowCam. This is a special digital camera system. A regular underwater camera would not work, due to the freezing cold temperatures, absence of light, and the extreme pressure. The TowCam is made from stainless steel, and is connected to the ship by a CTD cable. The CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) cable allows the scientists in the ship’s dry lab to see images taken by the camera in near real time. The TowCam will record many images, collect a few specimens, and obtain samples of water to be filtered. It also has some altimeters to ensure the TowCam isn’t getting snagged on anything at the ocean floor.
Read more about the Towed Camera system at: http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=17619