French architect Jacques Rougerie has spent over a decade trying to launch the idea the SeaOrbiter – a unique live-aboard, ocean-going vessel – part submarine, part research ship. The concept recently completed its industrial design phase, and construction is supposed to begin in October of 2012.
SeaOrbiter is currently a centerpiece for France’s pavilion at Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
SeaOrbiter is planned to be 58 meters (63 yards) high – a bit more than half the length of an American football field. The anticipated cost: around US$52.7 million.
According to CNN, famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle is a vocal supporter of the SeaOrbiter project. Other supporters include former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. Plus SeaOrbiter has the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) to help develop its necessary technologies and onboard designs.
The crew will utilize oceanographic observational and sonic equipment, plus links to Earth-orbiting satellites. The goal is real-time monitoring of the ocean, and its creatures.
GizMag reported SeaOrbiter’s designer, architect Jacques Rougerie, as saying:
This vertical vessel drifts in the currents hosting 18 oceanauts who will observe the life of the oceans on a permanent basis. Marine life will naturally aggregate … under its hull.
Bottom line: SeaOrbiter – part submarine, part research ship – recently completed its industrial design phase. Construction is slated to begin in October of 2012. A model of SeaOrbiter is currently on display in the French pavilion at Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
Sources: GizMag via CNN
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.