Fabien Cousteau is a well-known French marine explorer and director. In 2006, he made a shark-like submarine with a length of 4 meters in the documentary “Shark Doom”. The exterior of the submarine is wrapped in a layer of material similar to fish skin. A motor mounted on the tail can swing the tail fin back and forth, and can move quietly in the water at a speed of 9 kilometers per hour. Fabien hid in it and had a thrilling journey with the sharks. His grandfather was the French marine explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau. He produced and hosted hundreds of documentaries about the ocean from the 1950s to the 1970s. One of the most famous documentaries was Jacques Yves Cousteau. “Stowe’s Underwater World” has been repeatedly broadcast by the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) within 10 years, and the program has reached hundreds of millions of viewers. In this regard, “Outdoor” magazine highly praised: “Jacques almost shaped the modern view of the ocean.” The legendary figure known as the “father of scuba diving” is well-known in Europe and the United States, second only to France’s General De Gaulle. .
Fabian Cousteau learned to scuba dive at the age of 4 and participated in expedition research with his grandfather. Scuba diving refers to diving activities carried out by divers carrying underwater breathing systems, including open breathing systems and closed breathing systems. For many years, the Cousteau family has been committed to increasing human attention to the marine environment. In 2016, Fabien Cousteau founded the “Fabien Cousteau Marine Learning Center”, a non-profit organization based in New York. Fabien Cousteau believes that scuba diving is amazing and opens another door for underwater exploration. It is a pity that human diving time is very limited. The solution can only be to build underwater habitats to provide researchers with opportunities to do more extended work in the ocean. Just like outer space, the magical ocean urges us to settle in unexplored foreign land.
In order to overcome the limitations of scuba diving, Fabien Cousteau decided to build a state-of-the-art research facility deep in the ocean on the basis of inheriting the family heritage. He was inspired by the original Greek god of the sea “Protus”, which can take on different shapes and is the guardian of knowledge. This underwater habitat and research station is located in a marine protected area near Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea. It is about 18 meters underwater and covers an area of about 372 square meters. Fabien Cousteau named it “Proteus”. After completion, “Proteus” can accommodate up to 12 people living underwater for several weeks or even months.
”Proteus” will provide a base for scientists and researchers studying the oceans around the world to study the impact of climate change, new marine biology and medical breakthroughs. It can warn of tsunamis and hurricanes, and create ambitions in sustainability, energy and robotics. Vigorous new research. According to US media reports, “Proteus” can be called the underwater version of the International Space Station, where scientists from different countries or institutions can cooperate sincerely regardless of borders.
The strategic partners of the project are Northeastern University, Rutgers University and Caribbean Biodiversity Research and Management Organization (a non-profit organization headquartered in Kulaka). According to estimates, the construction cost of “Proteus” and the operating expenses for the first three years are about 135 million U.S. dollars, and the annual operating costs will be about 3 million U.S. dollars. Although “Proteus” has been supported by some private companies, Fabien Cousteau is still seeking more financial support.
Build underwater habitats
As early as the 1960s, Jacques Yves Cousteau built a series of underwater habitats called “Conshelf”. In 1962, “Conshelf-I” came out, during which two submariners lived here for a week. In 1963, the “Conshelf-II”, a habitat that resembled a starfish, was successfully constructed. After that, 5 submariners lived there for a whole month. The last completed “Conshelf-III” is located about 100 meters underwater (10 times deeper than the first two habitats), where 6 submariners lived in almost isolated areas for 3 weeks, and they also regularly go outside the habitat Conduct scientific experiments. The Conshelf series of habitats have greatly stimulated public interest in underwater habitats. In the next 20 years, a series of similar projects have appeared around the world, but not many are still in use.
Especially worth mentioning is the “Aquarius” subsea laboratory. It was jointly built by the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1986 and was taken over and operated by Florida International University in 2012. It is located about 19 meters deep under the sea in Key Largo, Florida, with an area of about 37 square meters. It is currently the only underwater permanent laboratory in the world. It is similar in size to the astronaut living cabin of the International Space Station, which is equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, bathroom and 6 beds. In addition, it also has a porthole to watch the surrounding marine life 24 hours a day.
Jacques Yves Cousteau also built the world’s first deep-sea ship that can sustain human life underwater. He took this deep-sea ship and lived in the depths of the Red Sea about 9 meters for 30 days. The filming of this experience became the documentary “A World Without Sunshine”, which won an Oscar. In order to commemorate the successful underwater expedition of his grandfather Jacques Yves Cousteau more than 50 years ago, and attract more people to pay attention to marine protection, on June 1, 2014, members of the Fabien Cousteau team dived into deep water together. “Aquarius” launched a 31-day scientific expedition. This research has played an important role in promoting the development of the marine industry, so it was named “Plan 31”. For this project, after years of preparation, the team finally broke the 30-day record of Jacques Yves Cousteau’s deep underwater life with a one-day advantage.
Participated in this historic expedition were Professor Brian Helmos from Northeastern University and his colleague Dr. Liz Maggie. They worked in the underwater laboratory for a total of 14 days, mainly studying the effects of human activities on the ocean. Impact. Not only do they have to dive regularly, but they also live broadcast the work and life of the underwater laboratory to scientists and students around the world 24 hours a day, which has aroused great attention.
Because astronauts landing on an asteroid may be more like “swimming” in space, NASA has sent astronauts and scientists to conduct underwater simulation space experiment projects many times. In 2007, two NASA astronauts and one space medical expert came to the “Aquarius” laboratory to simulate space medical experiments and study the effects of space flight on human physiology and psychology. In 2012, the “Aquarius” laboratory received an international team composed of astronauts and scientists, and carried out a 12-day underwater training to simulate future landings on asteroids.
Researching the ocean is 1,000 times more important than conquering space.
”Proteus” was designed by industrial designer Yves Behar and involved wearable devices, smart cradles, and safety robots. In order to make “Proteus” a distinctive underwater version of the “International Space Station”, the Yves Bahar design team did a lot of homework in advance, and even studied the relevant sections of science fiction. According to Yves Behar, this is a brand new, distinctive, inspiring, futuristic underwater laboratory with a focus on health and technological functions. For example, the design of windows in the entertainment area strives to allow as much light as possible into the cabin. In addition, it is connected to the water surface through an umbilical cord lifeline, which can input air and communication signals.
”Proteus” is designed as a two-story circular structure with multiple “legs” support to adapt to changing terrain. Looking down from top to bottom, “Proteus” is like two cute little feet stepped on each other in a dislocation. In each of the “little toes” are the laboratory, medical area, video studio and living room. Among them, the largest cabin has a moon pool where the submersible can dock, and the submariners can also enter the seabed from there. In addition, the two-story circular structure is connected by a spiral ramp to encourage submariners to engage in more sports. The two ends of the spiral ramp connect the internal public spaces, including the living room, kitchen, dining room, and work area. These designs make people feel the comfort of home. These “toes” can be added or separated to suit the special needs of different users. The design of underwater habitat is modular, and there are many ways to upgrade and expand it in the future to promote the development of many research fields.
”Proteus” is powered by wind, solar and ocean thermal energy conversion. In addition, “Proteus” will also build an underwater greenhouse so that explorers can get fresh food through planting. On the ocean floor, the two biggest challenges are isolation and lack of natural light. The central space of “Proteus” will provide more support for residents’ health, social relations and teamwork. With “Proteus”, scientists can dive day and night without having to decompress for hours between dives. Just like astronauts in space, scientists can stay underwater for weeks or even months.
”Proteus” has opened up a broader space for research on drug development, sustainable food production, and climate change, among which drug research and new drug discovery are most likely to be promoted. A follow-up study conducted by Alejandro Meyer, professor of pharmacology at Midwestern University in Illinois, shows that since 1969, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved 12 marine drugs. These drugs include compounds that are extracted from various fish, sponges and other marine animals to treat cancer, pain and herpes. In addition, there are currently more than 24 marine-based drugs in clinical development.
Early research in biopharmaceuticals usually involves collecting and testing thousands of specimens recovered from the ocean. The existence of “Proteus” will enable researchers to build containers inside and outside the facility, allowing scientists to observe complete communities and plants without stress.
William Finnico, professor of oceanography and pharmacy at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California, believes that although divers living in underwater laboratories can explore for a longer period of time, the distance to explore is still limited. Because the discovery of new drugs is based on diversity and a large amount of test materials, considering this limitation, Fabien Cousteau also intends to break through the depth of 18 meters, hoping to build a Triton laboratory about 183 meters underwater in the future. Fabien Cousteau’s research team will also use autonomous underwater robots to explore a depth of about 610 meters underwater.
According to estimates by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States: Although the ocean covers 71% of the earth’s surface, humans have so far only explored 5% of it, and the ocean maps less than 20%. Compared with exploring the underwater world, space exploration has received more attention and funding. Fabien Cousteau said: “It is hoped that through’Proteus’, people will pay more attention to the ocean and eventually establish a worldwide underwater research network. For human survival and future development, studying the ocean is more important than conquering space. 1000 times. This is our life support system, which is why we exist. While emphasizing ocean research, I am also a firm supporter of space exploration, because the two are similar in nature and require humans to be extreme Exploring in isolation under conditions.”