A mysterious golden orb found on the sea floor has baffled scientists.
It was discovered on 30 August, but tests are still under way to determine the object’s origin.
The egg – as some speculate it might be – was found by marine biologists aboard a vessel run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US, off the coast of Alaska.
The team managed to collect it and bring it to the surface using a robotic arm, but experts still haven’t been able to identify the blob.
Sky News understands tests will have to wait until they can examine it in a full laboratory after their research expedition ends in the next fortnight.
Admitting they can’t tell where it came from, the group shared a picture on social media, taken from a live stream of its deep dive.
“This golden orb, likely an egg casing, struck an imaginative chord for many watching yesterday,” the NOAA wrote.
The image shows a round, sponge-like mass with a hole in it.
According to the Miami Herald, one researcher on board remarked “something tried to get in… or get out” during the video.
The “glittering gold blob”, as described by the NOAA, is “as-of-yet unidentified”.
It’s prompted varied reaction across social media – with one person quipping: “Not now, golden orb found on ocean floor.”
The NOAA is currently in the throes of a five-month mission to explore the depths of the sea near Alaska.
The 48-strong crew is equipped with tools to peer deep into the ocean – and gather data that’s shared in real time with researchers back on dry land.
“It’s so exciting to go down there and see that it’s actually teeming with life,” said expedition coordinator Shannon Hoy.
“You would never know that unless we were able to go down there and explore,” she added, weeks before the golden orb was discovered.
Researchers aboard the Okeanos Explorer are busy mapping and collecting samples along the Aleutian Trench and Gulf of Alaska using cameras that can operate as far down as 6,000m deep.
“We’re also going to be looking through the water column to see what interesting animals and fauna that we can see there,” Ms Hoy said ahead of the mission.
With just days left until the mission ends, she may have found more than she bargained for.