Proteus is an ambitious underwater research station that could one-day welcome scientists and researchers 60 feet below the sea in Curaçao. The project is spearheaded by aquanaut Fabien Cousteau and industrial designer Yves Béhar and is conceived as the underwater version of the International Space Station.
Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of the famed explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau who pioneered such habitats in the 1960s. Fabien plans to continue that legacy with the construction of Proteus, an underwater habitat and research station that would be one of the largest ever built.
The underwater research station will advance scientific and oceanic research by making it livable for long periods of time to carry out a variety of research missions. Proteus will be a platform for global collaboration amongst the world’s leading researchers, academics, government agencies, and corporations to advance science to benefit the future of the planet.
At 4,000 square feet, Proteus will be three or four times the size of any previously built submarine habitats, accommodating up to twelve people at once. Attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain, the design is based on the concept of a spiral.
A series of modular pods are attached to the main body and will accommodate a variety of uses such as laboratories, sleeping quarters, bathrooms, medical bays, life support systems, and storage. The largest pod contains a moon pool allowing submersibles to dock. These pods can be attached or detached to adapt to the specific needs of the users over time.
Building the habitat and operating it for its first three years will cost an estimated $135 million, which Fabien is working to raise. He declined to name the funders backing the project, but its strategic partners include Northeastern University, Rutgers University and the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity, a Curaçao-based non-profit. [Forbes]