SeaOrbiter to explore the oceans

The SeaOrbiter is an ocean going research vessel. Its launch is expected some time in 2013. Similar to a space ship, the SeaOrbiter is planned to allow scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station positioned under the oceans’ surface. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines.

SeaOrbiter is a project of the “Floating oceanographic laboratory” organisation. It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. The construction of the Oceanographic Laboratory started in 2011. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million.

SeaOrbiter

The laboratory is semi-submersible ocean going craft and weighs 1000 tons. It has a total height of 51 meters with 31 meters below sea level.

It is designed to float vertically and drift with the ocean currents but has two small propellers allowing it to modify its trajectory and manoeuvre in confined waters. Underwater robots can be sent from the laboratory to explore the seabed. The hull is made of an alloy comprising aluminium and magnesium is five times thicker than that of a conventional vessel.

Its vertical alignment in the sea will leave a small part visible above the surface with much larger accommodation and laboratories below the sea’s surface. Some levels will have a cabin pressure equal to the external water pressure allowing divers to live for extended periods at depth and make frequent excursions.

Source: Wikipedia, 8th May 2013

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