As UK-based DEEP Research Labs was announcing its plans to “make humans aquatic” in its modular habitats by 2027, across the Atlantic Fabien Cousteau’s Proteus Ocean Group has been advancing its own plans to construct the “International Ocean Space Station” beneath Caribbean waters.
Proteus recently signed a collaboration agreement with US Navy R&D facility the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre (NUWC) in Newport, Rhode Island. The two bodies have signed a co-operative research & development agreement to drive ideas about underwater habitat design and mission operations.
The partnership follows the announcement of a similar collaboration with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric & Administrative (NOAA) earlier this summer, as reported on Divernet.
“NUWC Division Newport has over 150 years of experience developing undersea technologies, including ocean & biological inspired sciences,” said its chief technology officer Dr Jason Gomez. “We are very excited to collaborate with Proteus and explore the use of habitats for research purposes.”
The Proteus plan, first announced in 2020, is to build a futuristic underwater habitat off the island of Curaçao where scientists, innovators, private citizens, the public sector and global customers can study the ocean environment and related technology for extended periods of time.
The habitat will provide scientific laboratories, robotics, access to training ranges, living accommodation and a digital video production facility to deliver live-streaming for research and educational programming, says the group.
The collaboration is expected to take the form of shared research initiatives and lessons learned from past projects, creation of audio-visual content for future training and educational materials, and development of safe undersea operational procedures.
“We welcome NUWC’s experience and collaboration, and the opportunity to see how technologies derived from US Navy research can be used for civilian applications,” said Cousteau, chief oceanic explorer of Proteus Ocean Group.
“Important partnerships like this one are vital to ensure a safe and secure path forward as we work together to advance ocean exploration, now and in the future.”
Underwater habitat projects such as Proteus relate not only to science but to luxury recreation in the future, which is why Cousteau will be a presenter at the annual SUTUS (Space & Underwater Tourism Universal Summit) 2023 conference in Marbella this month, to report on the progress of the International Ocean Space Station as well as FCOLC (Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre) initiatives.
Other speakers on the underwater-themed third day of the “tourism beyond natural borders” conference include Rob McCallum of EYOS Expeditions, which was behind the recent meteorite fragment recovery off PNG and Victor Vescovo’s multiple submersible exploits; Karlos Simón (Bahamas tiger-shark diving) and underwater archaeologists Lola Higueras and Michele Stefanile. SUTUS can be attended online as well as in person and runs from 26-28 September.
Also on Divernet: PROTEUS: Undersea habitat of the future, Secret’s out: UK dive-site now ’DEEP Campus’, Shrunk but sleeping better, Dr Deep Sea resurfaces, Can underwater living turn Dr Deep Sea superhuman?