The Census of Marine Life is one of the truly big scientific endeavours of our time. Together with loads of scientific results, it produced incredible images of an alien world, largely unknown and full of wonders.
The NOAA maintains a website with many quotes along the lines of the following:
» Man’s perpetual curiosity regarding the unknown has opened many frontiers. Among the last to yield to the advance of scientific exploration has been the ocean floor. Until recent years much more was known about the surface of the moon than about the vast areas that lie beneath three-fourths of the surface of our own planet. «
— In Submarine Geology (1948) by F. P. Shepard. p. 1.
The situation was not much different when the Census of Marine Life started and this is one of the reasons why life from the deep can still astonish and inspire us.