Cousteau kin set to live underwater for 31 days | MNN - Mother Nature Network
Just when you think reality TV can’t sink any lower, along comes Fabien Cousteau.
The grandson of original aquanaut Jacques-Yves Cousteau is producer, director and star of a miniseries airing this fall that takes place 63 feet under sea. Starting on Nov. 12, Fabien Cousteau (below) and other researchers will live underwater for 31 days and will broadcast every second on multiple channels, exposing the world to the adventure, risk and mystique of what lies beneath.
"Mission 31" is more than “Big Brother,” of course. Those living under water will conduct research on the effects of climate change on corals, sponges and sea life with scientific advice and mission support from Northeastern University’s Urban Coastal Sustainability Initiative. Cousteau’s team will also lead human physiological and psychological experiments to determine how long humans can live without the sun and also handle the effects of long-term high pressure.
The team will also test new technology such as underwater motorcycles, autonomous robots and diving helmets.
“Mission 31,” says Cousteau, builds on the legacy of his grandfather, who is credited with creating the first underwater habitats for humans. In 1963, the elder Cousteau led a team that spent 30 days aboard Conshelf Two beneath the waters of the Red Sea.
The “Mission 31" divers will stay under longer and stay deeper than that mission 50 years ago. The mission will also be viewable by the world 24/7.
Live feeds from eight cameras — four inside the habitat, four outside — will stream via the Internet. It will also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
“You will be able to see fish swimming by,” says Fabien Cousteau. “The Aquarius is not only a habitat for the aquanauts. It has been on the bottom so long it has also become a habitat for residents outside — a variety of sea life.”
The 81-ton habitat features six bunks, a shower and toilet, instant hot water, a microwave, a refrigerator and even air conditioning. “Creature comforts are pretty sparse,” jokes Cousteau.
Living below the surface — called saturation diving — allows divers to spend up to nine hours a day swimming without having to worry about getting the bends. Typically, divers can spend an hour or less at depth.
Saturation diving gives researchers more time to collect data and filmmakers more time to record footage, says Cousteau. “It’s the difference between flying over a forest in a helicopter to get a shot and living and strolling through a forest.”
Cousteau’s production team Bonnets Rouges and Liquid Pictures will be shooting footage for an Imax documentary. But you won’t have to wait to see what the divers see. In addition to the live feeds, Students can see each day of the mission worldwide via live Skype video calls into classrooms around the world. The Weather Channel will provide ongoing coverage including live reports throughout the mission.
This is exceptional. I, for one, am a supreme advocate for unleashing all aspects of scientific inquiry, advancement and above all - research, but most certainly deep sea/underwater/marine exploration. The NOAA should be doing for oceanic exploration what NASA (and all space agencies, respectively) should be doing for human expansion into space. Glad to see this is happening and it seems a bit Mars-One-esque, which is a beautiful thing.
Learn/explore more about Mission 31 (mission-31.com)