The Ocean Equivalent of the International Space Station
The Sea Orbiter is intended to be a place where scientists can have a residential yet mobile research station positioned under the oceans’ surface. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines. Sea Orbiter is the first “International Oceanic Station”, with it mission to use its slow-drift capability and great self-sufficiency to carry out major scientific and educational missions for the benefit of humanity.
Sea Orbiter Is:
– A mobile underwater home with accommodation for 18 to 22 crew members to observe, listen to and study marine life 24/7 on prolonged missions. It enables divers to live in symbiosis with marine animals in the midst of the oceans.
– A space simulator which accommodates astronauts in a pressurized area. Living conditions in this pressurized habitat are similar to the conditions found in space.
– A scientific platform that gives us a direct insight into the ecosystem of the open ocean, thanks to the complementarity of uninterrupted observation and analyses of the physicochemical parameters.
– A multimedia communications platform producing a constant flow of educational programs and information for the public.
– An underwater base which can deploy vehicles and devices for exploring the deep oceans down to 6000 meters
– A laboratory continuously analyzing physical, chemical and dynamic environmental parameters.
Weight, height and made of:
The laboratory is semi-submersible oceangoing craft and weighs 1000 tons. It has a total height of 51 meters with 31 meters below sea level. According to the organization, the vessel has been tested for durability in the infamously choppy North Sea and performed well. 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 of aluminum and magnesium, and is five times thicker than that of a conventional vessel.
“Floating Oceanographic Laboratory” Organization
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. Sea Orbiter is a project headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien.