The Final FrontierPosted: 30 June 2012
Ah…..the weekend and I do not have to think about the political, the seedy underbelly of American society….and I found the perfect sciencey thing….and we all know that I love sciencey stuff, huh?
I have always enjoyed the stuff on ocean exploration and thought that there was a better way of doing this….and voila!
How about the SeaOrbiter?
Underwater space station
Comparisons have been made between The SeaOrbiter and the International Space Station (ISS), fuelled no doubt my rumours that both NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are interested in using it. Not just that, but Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first French astronaut, is involved in the design of the ship and its anti-collision system is based on the one used by the ISS.
Using ocean currents and wind to explore the oceans, SeaOrbiter would be unique among underwater sea stations, such as Aquarius near Key Largo in Florida, due to the fact that its mobile. Crewed by six crew members, six scientists and room for six others (perhaps astronauts in training?), the SeaOrbiter would drift across the oceans, whilst research is done below the waves. Only the lookout deck, navigation department and communications would rise about the sea, whilst the research decks would be pressurised to enable the scientists to do daily dives and other scientific missions.
The project has drawn acclaim in France, with the French State Minister of Ecology and the Sea, Jean-Louis Borloo naming the SeaOrbiter as one of the leading tools for his “Grenelle de la Mer”, saying the oceanic platform would be essential for better understanding the ocean. President Sarkozy has even mentioned the project in a speech over the summer, winning it the backing of companies such as DCNS, the shipbuilder, and Thalès, the defence electronics group.
As you’d expect however, it is not a cheap venture. Rougerie, whose love of the oceans is driving him to launch half a dozen of the vessels, says he has half the the US$52.7 million needed to build the prototype, however he is confident that support will be forthcoming.
Come on…you gotta admit that this is the coolest thing ever!