The SeaOrbiter is a high tech moving laboratory combining ideas of space exploration with deep sea exploration. Designed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, this craft is envisioned as a a sort of ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of aquatic research, carrying scientists on long treks through an environment not inherently friendly to human life.
So far the SeaOrbiter is still in it’s conception phase. Construction is planned to begin later this year, and if funding allows, to be completed in 2016. Initial funding has been provided by the French government, several companies, and a crowd-funding campaign.
Designers say “it will hunt for underwater archaeological remains and new life forms, investigate ocean chemistry, and map vast swathes of the ocean floor while providing unprecedented capability for sending aquanauts continually on deep dives.”
What’s special about this concept is that is borrows heavily from space exploration.
The idea is that the SeaOrbiter will improve everyday technology on land. Like the International Space Station, technology developed for those kind of advanced systems allow us to further develop technology on a smaller scale, for every day use.
It also allows for humans to live in environments that are typically impossible long term – expanding human colonization.
Likewise, the plan for research on SeaOrbiter is equally impressive, and will allow for questions to be answered that have not before been possible. That will in part be enabled by the design of the ship, which will allow researchers to dive deeper and more often than traditional vessels.
The article states that: “Crew members living at normal atmospheric pressure can dive to about 50 meters. Because of the risk of decompression illness (DCI), however, deeper exploration involves an approach called saturation diving, in which aquanauts spend a great deal of time in hyperbaric (high pressure) chambers.
SeaOrbiter, by contrast, will have an entire bottom deck at hyperbaric pressure, with living space and comforts comparable to the rest of the ship.”
This ship is also equipped with large robotic vehicles that are able to reach a depth of 6,000 meters.
The piloted sub and the larger robotic vehicle will be equipped with the most advanced robot arms and imaging equipment available.
Then, there is the architecture of the vessel itself. The SeaOrbiter is much taller than it is long, so it seems that it would just topple over.
It’s actually more stable than standard ships because the large saucer section at the bottom is denser than water and everything above it is light and buoyant. This design could be applied to future ships as well.
To top it all off, the SeaOrbiter‘s propulsion system is green, because it uses solar and wind energy to power highly efficient electric engines, and designers may also add biofuel to the mix.
The ideas behind this ship extend much further than an ocean based laboratory – these are the concepts of the future! We can have entire cities both on land and off based around these concepts.
Where we combine technology with nature and work together to bring forth a green, thriving world where everyone can live freely!