Fabien Cousteau has revealed his ambitious new venture, a 4,000-square-foot modular laboratory called Proteus. The aquanaut, conservationist, and filmmaker has joined forces with industrial designer Yves Béhar and his company Fuseproject to design what will be—if the project is realized—the planet’s biggest underwater research station, ten times larger than Aquarius, in the Florida Keys, the only underwater habitat that currently exists.
Located at a depth of 60 feet off the island of Curaçao in a marine protected area of the Caribbean Sea, Proteus will have two storeys with protruding pods containing labs, living quarters for up to 12 people, medical bays, and a “wet porch” allowing divers to access the ocean floor. It will also feature an underwater greenhouse for growing food and, only naturally, a video production facility. The structure will be powered by wind and solar energy, as well as ocean thermal energy conversion.
Conceived as the underwater version of the International Space Station, Proteus will allow scientists from all over the world to study the ocean, addressing subjects such as the impacts of climate change, new marine species, food sustainability, and medicinal discoveries.
Proteus’s strategic partners include Northeastern University, Rutgers University, and the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI). The project already has some backing from the private sector, but further funding is currently being sought.
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