Proteus is the world’s most advanced underwater research station and habitat. Fabien Cousteau knows something about the underwater world. His grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, became famous for a series of hugely popular and influential books, movies and TV shows — not to mention co-inventing the scuba diving apparatus that allows divers to truly dive into the underwater world.
Fabien Cousteau, who is now 52 years old, was very involved in the family business. Having learned to scuba dive at the age of four, he became one of this generation’s most prominent ocean advocates and documentarians.
With the help of industrial designer Yves Behar, he plans to build the largest underwater laboratory on the planet. His grandfather had several attempts to implement such a project. Jacques Cousteau’s Conshelf was the first underwater habitat and seabed laboratory at depths over 100 meters.
Fabien Cousteau’s ambitious Proteus project will be more than three times the size. It will be able to accommodate up to twelve intrepid oceanographers at the same time. The spiral two-story design on stilts adapts to the changing seabed, powered entirely by wind and solar power from the surface, as well as ocean thermal energy conversion.
Several additional core area pods will become bedrooms, labs, medical bays, life-support systems, and storage areas. The largest of these capsules will be the «lunar pool» — a large hole for submersibles, allowing divers to enter the station. It will also feature the world’s first underwater garden and video editing equipment.
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The project is currently in the fundraising stage, and if all goes well, Proteus will be 20 meters below the surface off the coast of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. Divers and explorers will be able to stay there for weeks and work day in and day out without being subjected to a lengthy decompression process after each dive.
Like the International Space Station, Cousteau hopes to make regular live broadcasts as well as video content about the exploration. He considers ocean floor research to be more important to the future of our species than space exploration.