NOAA and developers are planning to build a first-of-its-kind research laboratory on the ocean floor to expand opportunities for humans to learn more about the ocean.
Proteus Ocean Group, founded by Fabien Cousteau, is developing an underwater research laboratory 60 feet deep off the coast of Curaçao by 2026.
NOAA and Proteus Ocean Group will partner to identify research opportunities for an underwater research station off the coast of Curaçao, providing a rare window on life under the ocean for scientists and the public.
Fabien Cousteau said the underwater research station will provide continuous access to the ocean for long-term studies, with the collaboration of NOAA allowing groundbreaking discoveries in areas such as climate refugia, super corals, and micro-environmental data.
NOAA partners with Proteus Ocean Group to unlock ocean mysteries for better management and protection of its resources.
NOAA and Proteus Ocean Group plan to exchange personnel, share methods, and undertake joint expeditions as they design and build the new underwater research laboratory, while also expanding NOAA's existing research programs.
Proteus Ocean Group plans to build an underwater research station off the coast of Curaçao by 2026, and is partnering with NOAA to expand research opportunities and share scientific expertise.
Proteus, the proposed underwater research station, could host up to 12 aquanauts, include an observatory, laboratory, video production facility, and potential for groundbreaking discoveries, as well as hosting private citizens and future networked stations.
Underwater research laboratories have existed before. Jacques Cousteau's Continental Shelf program built three in the 1960s, allowing aquanauts to live under the water off France and in the Red Sea.
Aquarius, NOAA's existing underwater research station, has been in operation since 1988 and supports six crew members, with annual operating costs of approximately $1.1 million and an average mission length of 7-10 days.
NOAA's first undersea research habitat, Hydrolab, operated between 1970 and 1985 and housed over 700 scientists on more than 85 missions in the Bahamas, St. Croix, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.