By Zahra Al-Kateb
However, thanks to the backing of luxury watch brand Rolex and crowdfunding, his dream may be set to become a reality.
The vessel, described as a “mobile underwater home” would allow 24/7 exploration during long term missions in the ocean, 90% of which remains unexplored. When built, it will provide a home for 18 to 22 crew members to explore the vast territory that is still widely unknown to man.
The futuristic vessel will be capable of reaching depths of over 6,000 meters and will mimic space as living conditions in the pressurized habitat are said to be similar to those experienced by astronauts. It is through allowing crew members to stay deep underwater for extreme lengths of time that will provide an insight into the ecosystem and the open ocean according to Rougerie, who believes that the studying the abyss is crucial for mankind, and calls for a new responsible and sustainable way to ensure the ocean can be used as a source for innovations and solutions for the planet.
The unique and momentous structure which will cost approximately $35 million owes its development to luxury watch brand Rolex, DCNS, NASA, National Geographic and crowd funding and is the product of over 30 years of innovative research and recreations of marine architecture. The autonomous self sustaining vessel will be crafted out of Sealium – a recyclable aluminum made specifically for marine environments – and will generate the necessary electricity to operate itself using wind, wave and solar power.
The SeaOrbiter is scheduled to be complete within the next two years.