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Proteus - the underwater habitat of the future

Ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau has announced an ambitious plan to build the world’s most advanced underwater research station within the next three years. Named Proteus, the modular structure is to be located at a depth of 18 metres in a protected marine area near Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. In 1962, Fabien’s grandfather
Published: July 24, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:25
Proteus – the underwater habitat of the future

Ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau has announced an ambitious plan to build the world’s most advanced underwater research station within the next three years. Named Proteus, the modular structure is to be located at a depth of 18 metres in a protected marine area near Curaçao in the southern Caribbean.

In 1962, Fabien’s grandfather and legendary figure in the underwater world, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, began the process of building underwater research habitats as part of his Conshelf I, II and III projects in the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Now his descendant is continuing the work he started.

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Proteus Underwater Research Station Divers24.pl

“The ocean, as a life-support system, is essential to solving our planet’s biggest problems. The challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses pose a multi-billion dollar risk to the global economy,” – says Cousteau

According to the assumptions, the entire facility will cover an area of 370 m² and will consist of laboratories, medical complexes, greenhouses for growing food, living quarters for the station’s crew and a swimming pool connecting the station to open water. The station is to be fully powered by energy drawn from wind, solar and thermal installations. The shape of the Proteus is intended to be reminiscent of coral polyps.

This unusual project, in a nutshell, is to become the underwater equivalent of the International Space Station, providing a platform for scientific collaboration between leading scientists from around the world.

If the whole thing is built according to the presented design, it will be more than four times larger than any underwater research station created so far. Scientists and aquanauts will be able to carry out research work 24 hours a day and the samples and research material collected will be analysed on site.

“Living underwater gives us the time and incredible perspective of becoming one of the reef’s inhabitants. It’s very different to being just a temporary visitor there.”

Proteus Research Station top view Divers24.pl Project partners include Northeastern University, Rutgers University, the Caribbean Research & Management of Biodiversity Foundation and the University of Rhode Island. The projected cost of construction is $135 million, to be provided by private donors and public entities.

Mapping of the site for the creation of the station was due to start in July, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it has been moved to September. The plan is to complete the habitat within about three years of mapping the site.

In 2014, Cousteau led a team of five to set a new record for staying underwater. The researchers spent 31 days in the Aquarius habitat in Florida.

Source: Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centetr

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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