FIRST AIRED: September 23, 2018

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00:00:00
>> Thousands of meters under the Norwegian Sea, scientists use robots to probe a site that could be rich in treasure. Not a sunken gold hoard but minerals that could be worth a fortune. These rocks, thought to be rich in so-called rare earths, they're crucial to a host of modern technology such as smartphones, radars, and magnets.
00:00:21
China currently produces the vast majority of the world's supply. This mission might open the way to change that, but it won't be an easy place to go mining.>> Really, very tough environment, very acidic, a lot of chemicals, dark. And we use a ROV, that we call a remotely operated vehicle, it's kind of a robot with two arms.
00:00:42
And we dive to 2,000 to 2,500 meters, where everything is black.>> Down here, the Earth's crust is continually renewed, underwater volcanoes constantly spewing molten material. No one is sure exactly what resources might lie in wait.>> Sea floor on Earth is, for the most part, unknown at all.
00:01:06
And it's totally fair to say that we kind of know much more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we know about our own planet.>> Any mining might alarm environmentalists. The site has a unique array of flora and fauna. Now the team of scientists plan to use submarines and robots to explore the ecosystems.
00:01:27
And it'll be a long time before anyone starts digging for minerals.
00:01:30
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