We’ve been to the moon, orbited our very own blue planet and have made a name for ourselves in the Space we live in. Just when we thought that we had had our “giant leap of mankind” moment in our mighty universe, researchers now want more. Since there wasn’t enough ‘Space’ out there, they thought they should now explore a different world altogether. And this it’s the marine world they have set their minds upon. And why shouldn’t they since the marine population occupies a considerable 80% of the planet.
So, how will they go about conducting this very ambitious research? We have already seen in many Hollywood flicks, wherein researchers set up underwater research centres. What we saw on celluloid will soon be a reality with the launch of SeaOrbiter, a research centre which will be positioned on the Ocean’s surface. While being in close proximity to marine life and an aquatic environ, marine research will receive a huge impetus. The vessel which will be launched in 2013 is actually a part of the project titled “Floating Oceanographic Laboratory”. Jacques Rougerie, a French Architect heads the project along with Astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien and Oceanographer Jacques Piccard.
A $52.7 million project, the SeaOrbiter will enable Scientist to station themselves on residential as well as mobile research centres built on the ocean floor. The research centres submerged in water will provide them with everything from laboratories, workshop centres along with a place to live and pressurized deck built especially for divers and submarines. The project was many a times dismissed and was considered to be ‘in the pipeline’ for quite sometime. However, it has finally made its way and will soon be a reality.
Let’s give you some more insights into this very ambitious project which is all set to bring about a huge breakthrough in marine research.
The SeaOrbiter: A “Giant Leap for Mankind” under Water
With the setting up of the SeaOrbiter, Jacques Rougerie believes that not only will it bolster marine research but will also help in the understanding of global warming and its close connection with the oceans and seas of the planet, since they absorb carbon emissions in plenty.NASA is also involved in the project which has been in its institutional and financial phase in the last few years according to Ariel Fuchs, the media director of the project. The European Space Agency along with several other industrial organizations are also involved in the project.
It is being said that the construction of this ship will begin by the end of the year. The vessel will also be the first structure under water measuring 170 feet and 51 m tall. Very impressive indeed! The vessel will drift along with the ocean currents as it has been designed that way. The vessel also will encourage research in pelagic eco system, fish stocks and plankton bio diversity with the setting up of a fish collection system.
The very fact that two thirds of the vessel will remain under water, one will not have to worry about the stability of the vertical ship. The buoyancy will give the SeaOrbiter the much required stability under water. Natural forms of energy such as solar, wind and wave power will keep the vessel going and keep it sustainable for a very long time. The European Defence and Space Systems Conglomerate are also working on an alternative bio fuel for the SeaOrbiter.