The ocean is still a vastly unexplored world that is full of mysteries, and with the growing technology, we frequently discover more oddities and fascinating creatures from its depths. Such research attempts are soon going to have a massive boon in the form of an ocean-based research laboratory called the SeaOrbiter. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines.
“SeaOrbiter is the only vessel in the world allowing a 24/7 exploration on long-term missions of the open sea and the abyss.”
The SeaOrbiter, which seems to be an amazing spaceship like structure, is the work of Jacques Rougerie, a sea architect, and various experts, among them being the former NASA head Daniel Goldin. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million. On completion the project will result in a vessel that is basically the ISS of the ocean, able to hold up to 22 researchers and crew members initially.
The laboratory is semi-submersible vessel and weighs 1000 tons. It has a total height of 51 meters with 31 meters below sea level., and will harvest renewable energy from wind, sun, and waves. It is designed to float vertically and drift with the ocean currents but has two small propellers allowing it to modify its trajectory and maneuver in confined waters. Underwater robots can be sent from the laboratory to explore the seabed. The hull is made of an alloy comprising aluminum and magnesium is five times thicker than that of a conventional vessel.
Its vertical alignment in the sea will leave a small part visible above the surface with much larger accommodation and laboratories below the sea’s surface. Some levels will have a cabin pressure equal to the external water pressure allowing divers to live for extended periods at depth and make frequent excursions.
Rougerie said in a message to the folks at Fast Company: “The SeaOrbiter is the synthesis of everything that we have been able to do at sea: it is at the same time a moving habitat and a dynamic launching point for submarine research and exploration. It will not replace oceanographic boats or exploratory submarines. Instead, it’s another way to explore and better comprehend the underwater universe and bring human life at sea to another level on a 24/7 basis and over long periods.”