Research Vessel Falkor (too) begins its first science expedition (2023)

An international team of scientists work together to rapidly find and explore
large hydrothermal vents on the world’s longest mountain range.
Video and photos available here.
CONTACT: Carlie Wiener (808) 628-8666

San Juan, Puerto RicoScientists have discovered three new hydrothermal vent fields over a 434-mile-long stretch of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during the first scientific expedition aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s recently launched research vessel Falkor (too).

The multidisciplinary science team representing 11 institutions from the United States, Canada, and France used advanced ocean technologies to make the discovery. Scientists used autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles resulting in 65 square miles (170 square kilometers) of seafloor mapped at one-meter scale resolution, an area approximately the size of Manhattan Island.

The discovery of the active hydrothermal vents is the first on this section of the world’s longest underwater mountain range, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, in more than 40 years. One of the discovered vent fields was located at the Puy des Folles volcano and has five active sites over 6.95 square miles (18 square kilometers). High-temperature ‘black smoker’ vents were also found at the Grappe Deux vent system and Kane Fracture Zone.

“This cruise exceeded expectations with the discovery of so many amazing hydrothermal vents vibrant with life,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “We are delighted with the new capability that Falkor (too) brings to the ocean science community, including the ability to put multiple different types of technology in the water simultaneously. The dedication of the scientists and crew, along with the capabilities of the ship, was evident in the success of this expedition and we look forward to more.”

The Mid-Atlantic ridge is a target area for deep-sea mining and exists in international waters, also known as “The High Seas.” All mineral-resources-related activities in the area are regulated by the International Seabed Authority, established by the United Nations. The ISA is currently considering whether to allow deep-sea mining.

Active hydrothermal vents are rich in metal sulfide deposits– mineral ore often affiliated with copper and zinc. In exploring the vents for the first time, scientists found rich biological communities. The vents were teeming with marine life including massive swarms of vent shrimp and a rare sighting of a big fin squid. Many species found on vents live off chemical energy (chemosynthesis) instead of energy from sunlight, which doesn’t reach those depths.

Scientists are still learning about how these ecosystems function and the role they play for cycling carbon on our planet. The impacts deep-sea mining would have on hydrothermal vent ecosystems are unknown, and the discovery of active marine life underscores the need for more research to understand the effects.

“Regional Environmental Management Plans for regulating ocean mining require accurate scientific data on the presence of animal communities and an understanding of how sites are colonized,” said Chief Scientist, Dr. David Butterfield, Principal Research Scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies at the University of Washington and Group Leader for the Earth Ocean Interactions Program at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle. “There is some agreement that sites with active venting and chemosynthetic vent fauna communities should be excluded from mining because of the very limited extent of hydrothermal vent habitat, which is restricted to a narrow band of activity on the global mid-ocean ridge system.”

The inaugural 40-day expedition on R/V Falkor (too) began in March. The new vessel will be utilized for global ocean exploration, focused on a new region of the world each year. The next expedition will begin on April 17 exploring deep-sea coral.

Falkor (too)’s inaugural expedition has demonstrated all that’s possible when you bring together scientists from around the world and give them access to the latest tools and technology, all aboard a collaborative floating laboratory,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder and president of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “The discoveries on this expedition underscore how much we have yet to learn about deep-sea ecosystems—and why, before marching ahead with mining or other potentially damaging activities, we need to learn more about our unknown ocean.”

About the Organizations

Schmidt Ocean Institute was established in 2009 by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to advance oceanographic research through the development of innovative technologies, open sharing of information, and broad communication about ocean health. It operates Falkor (too), the only year-round philanthropic research vessel in the world that is made available to the international scientific community at no cost. For more information, visit

NOAA Ocean Exploration is a federal organization dedicated to exploring the unknown ocean, unlocking its potential through scientific discovery, technological advancements, and data delivery. By working closely with partners across public, private, and academic sectors, we are filling gaps in our basic understanding of the marine environment. This allows us, collectively, to protect ocean health, sustainably manage our marine resources, accelerate our national economy, better understand our changing environment, and enhance appreciation of the importance of the ocean in our everyday lives. Learn more about NOAA Ocean Exploration.

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) is a federal laboratory that makes critical observations and conducts groundbreaking research to advance our knowledge of the global ocean and its interactions with the earth, atmosphere, ecosystems, and climate. These observations are used to improve weather and climate predictions, fisheries management, and coastal resilience. PMEL is a global leader in the development and deployment of innovative strategies for ocean observation. Learn more about PMEL at

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society. Learn more at

MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) is a private non-profit oceanographic research center, founded by David Packard in 1987. The mission of MBARI is to advance marine science and technology to understand a changing ocean. For more information, visit

University of Washington has been a hub for learning, innovation, problem-solving, and community building. Driven by a mission to serve the greater good, our students, faculty, and staff tackle today’s most pressing challenges with courage and creativity, making a difference across Washington state — and around the world. Learn more at

Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences is the center of Earth sciences research and academic programs at Oregon State University. Our scientists and students are on the frontlines of discovery, from the depths of the ocean to remote mountain peaks, from our backyards to the ends of the Earth, and from the state-of-the-art labs that line our halls to the communities that we serve with the outcomes of our research. In all disciplines, our faculty are renowned for their science and valued for their expertise. Learn more at

University of Toronto is proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, bringing together top minds from every conceivable background and discipline to collaborate on the world’s most pressing challenges. Learn more at

University of Victoria combines three elements: dynamic learning, vital impact, and our extraordinary academic environment. Together, these three elements nurture an environment of discovery, innovation, and creativity. Learn more at

Dalhousie University is located in Nova Scotia, Canada (Mi’kma’ki) with four campuses in Halifax and Truro, and satellite locations in Yarmouth and Saint John, New Brunswick, with a broad range of academic programs that attract and retain a diverse mix of incredible students, scholars, researchers, and staff who work together with an interdisciplinary perspective and a focus on service. Learn more at

IFREMER – A pioneer in ocean science, IFREMER’s cutting-edge research is grounded in sustainable development and open science. Learn more at

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What is falkor too? ›

Falkor (too) is a state-of-the-art research vessel, equipped with the most sophisticated technology currently available. The vessel, its laboratories, tools, equipment, and high-performance computing system are a multi-million-dollar venture.

Where is Falkor too? ›

Offshore Support Vessel, IMO 9523378

The current position of FALKOR TOO is at North West Atlantic Ocean reported 5 hours ago by AIS.

Where is the Schmidt Ocean Institute? ›

Schmidt Ocean Institute
FounderEric Schmidt Wendy Schmidt
LocationPalo Alto, California, United States of America
WebsiteSchmidt Ocean Institute home page
1 more row

Is Falkor male or female? ›

Portrayed byAlan Oppenheimer (1st film) Donald Arthur (2nd film) William Hootkins (3rd film) Howard Jerome (cartoon)
In-universe information
SpeciesLuck Dragon
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Is Falkor a dog or a dragon? ›

Falkor (Fuchur, German, Falcor or Falcore) is a Luck Dragon. He is one of main characters from The NeverEnding Story, appearing as the deuteragonist/tritagonist.

What dog is Falkor based on? ›

Falcor has a never-ending story to share with you. Falcor was surrendered to a shelter because he doesn't like to share his food space with other dogs. Falcor is about 4-years-old and 100 lbs. and he is a Great Pyrenees.

Is Falkor pink or white? ›

The makeup team on the movie tried to paint Noah Hathaway green, just as Atreyu is in the book. "It wasn't believable. I looked like fungi!" Hathaway said. Falkor is actually a 43-foot long motorized creature with 6,000 plastic scales and pink feather-fur.

What is Falkor based on? ›

Falkor's name in the original German novel is “Fuchur” which was apparently derived from the Japanese word fukuryū. Fuku meaning “happiness, luck” and Ryū meaning “dragon”. And so we have Falkor being the luckdragon in Fantastica. But fukuryū has been mentioned as meaning “hidden dragon” or “crouching dragon” as well.

How old is Wendy Schmidt? ›

What is the name of the famous deep water submarine from the Woods Hole oceanographic Institute featured in one of the coloring sheets? ›

Alvin is the world's longest-operating deep sea submersible. It was launched in 1964 and has made more than 4,700 dives, along the way participating in some of the most iconic discoveries in the deep ocean.

What is the history of Schmidt Ocean Institute? ›

Eric and Wendy Schmidt established Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 as a seagoing research facility operator, to support oceanographic research and technology development focusing on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations.

What color is Falkor? ›

Along Falkor's back he is covered in pink and white scales. His eyes are the same color of rubies but often are mistaken for deep brown or oak.

Is Falkor a Shih Tzu? ›

Learn more about the Cairn Terrier. This magical creature is Falkor! He is a mix of Shih Tzu or Peke and some kind of terrier - we think Cairn. And he looks just like the Luck Dragon in Neverending Story!!

How big is Falkor? ›

Research vessel Falkor (too) is 110.6 m (363 ft) in length, 20 m (66ft) in beam/width. The aft deck is 960 m2 (10, 333 ft2) and it currently has more than 110 berths – some of which will be converted into laboratories. Comparatively, Falkor is 83 m (272ft) in length, 13 m (43ft) in beam/width, and has 44 berths.

What's a luck dragon? ›

Slightly resembling a lion, the good luck dragon is the only known dragon species with mammalian characteristics, although it's still definitely a dragon. It's also one of the friendliest dragons known, a symbol of good fortune. Scientific Name: Draco fortuna.

Who rode Falkor? ›

You can ride Falkor the Luckdragon – companion of Atreyu and Bastian who helps them find a cure for the Empress… and eventually accompanies Bastian to the real world.

What does the luck dragon mean? ›

In the Chinese culture, the dragon represents good luck, strength, health and also the male element Yang. The dragon is unique because it is the only mythical creature of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac and babies are born in the year of the dragon more than any other animal.

What kind of dog is arrow? ›

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog Breed Information.

What kind of dog is brave? ›

German Shepherd

Whether it's sniffing out bombs for the army or controlling crowds for the police, German Shepherds are the bravest of all the dog breeds. As a family pet they will happily put their life on the line to keep you safe.

Is the luck dragon a dog? ›

Even though they called it a “luck dragon” it was totally a dog. Did you ever want to fly on it? Of course you did. When Bastian got to start making wishes with the last grain of sand after The Great Nothing consumes Fantasia, one of his first wishes is to fly around on the giant dog (er, luck dragon).

What is a Falkor in German? ›

Falkor (Fuchur in German) is a luckdragon and friend of Atreyu and Bastian. He is the only luckdragon to appear, although five others are mentioned in passing. He helps Atreyu in his quest to find a cure for the Empress after escaping the web of Ygramul the Many.

Was Artax a real horse? ›

Artax (1995–2012) was a champion American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint and was the 1999 American Champion Sprint Horse. He also won the Carter Handicap and Vosburgh Stakes and equaled or broke three track records.

What movie has the white dog dragon in it? ›

The NeverEnding Story (1984) - IMDb.

Is The Neverending Story Religion? ›

Deplores lack of critical attention to The Neverending Story, which she reads as “a profoundly religious text” which includes both spiritual and psychological growth.

How do you breed a luck dragon? ›

The Luck Dragon can be bred using a Clover Dragon and Misfortune Dragon, in either order, at any Breeding Cave.

Who built Falcor? ›

RV Falkor
BuilderOrenstein & Koppel AG, Lübeck, Germany
Cost$94 million (refit/conversion)
Yard number760
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What breed is Falkor? ›

Learn more about the Cairn Terrier. This magical creature is Falkor! He is a mix of Shih Tzu or Peke and some kind of terrier - we think Cairn. And he looks just like the Luck Dragon in Neverending Story!!

What is Falkor out of Neverending Story? ›

Falkor (also called Fuchur, German, Falcor or Falcore), is a luckdragon and the first dragon in the series. He is one of main characters from The Neverending Story, appearing as the deutragonist/tritagonist.

What kind of dog was lucky? ›

Lucky was a German Shepherd Dog, trained by the Royal Air Force to track terrorists. His RAF identification number was 3610 AD. Lucky was one of four dogs posted to the conflict known as the Malayan Emergency between 1949 and 1952. The other three dogs were called Bobbie, Jasper and Lassie.

What breed is Odin? ›

More than 5,600 buildings were destroyed, and 22 people were killed. But when the flames finally died, a four-legged hero emerged from the ashes: Odin, the Great Pyrenees dog.

What type of dog is AK 9? ›

German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhounds, and Labradors are common K9 police dogs. These dog breeds are known for their temperament, intelligence, and work ethic.

What breed is a bullet head? ›

Trivia (5)

Three dogs of the Perro de Presa Canario, a.k.a. Canary Mastiff breed were used to play the role of De Niro.

What was Falkor made of? ›

Conversation. Here is a behind the scenes shot of Falkor from THE NEVER ENDING STORY. It was 43 feet long, party made out of airplane steel, and weighed hundreds of pounds (just the head was 200 lbs.) Looks like a barfing cat.

What is the moral of The Neverending Story? ›

The Neverending Story is about human nature and how important it is for someone to find their true self. They must find friends, make connections, root through their history, and accept who they are. They must love themselves, too.


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