Ever wanted to live underwater? Well, a group of special marine scientists called Aquanauts have that very special honour. They spend days at a time 60 feet under water in a 20-year-old lab called “Aquarius.”From NOAA’s website:
Aquarius is an underwater ocean laboratory located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The laboratory is deployed three and half miles offshore, at a depth of 60 feet, next to spectacular coral reefs. Scientists live in Aquarius during 10–day missions using saturation diving to study and explore our coastal ocean.
Gizmodo recently sent their reporter Brian Lam underwater to visit the base, which is owned by NOAA and operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He got to visit with the aquanauts currently living in the underwater digs while they venture into the reef to perform observation and experiments.
As Lam writes in his post, the outpost shows its age:
In its 20 years of operation, the base has gone from being a pristine piece of yellow painted metal — an alien outpost placed here by man — into an overgrown native of the reef, where sea life and humans live side by side. Fish hang out and pass by every viewport all day, unafraid of the humans inside or visitors like ourselves.
Though it’s 20 years old, the base has all the modern amenities, including wireless Internet.
See a video of Lam’s adventure below. His underwater visit was limited to one hour because to stay longer the aquanauts need to be “saturated” to avoid getting decompression sickness, otherwise known as “the bends.”
Check out the gallery of images from Lam’s visit and find future “Mission Aquarius” posts on their site. You can also watch a live feed of what’s happening inside the base. Aquarius is actually in danger of being closed down, support the Aquarius Foundation on Facebook to find out how you can help.
As Lam writes:
If Aquarius closes, there’s no other habitat like this in the world which can allow for embedded observation over long periods of time.
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