Fabien Cousteau takes plunge to beat underwater record of family

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has embarked on a 31 days under the waves off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, where he will live 60 feet (18 metres) below the ocean’s surface.

He has already spent 3 weeks in the underwater laboratory called the Aquarius the only undersea laboratory in the world to observe fish behavior, study the impact of ocean pollution and warming seas on coral reefs, and measure the effect of lengthy underwater stays on the human body with his team of researchers and documentary filmmakers.

Mission 31 marks 50 years since his grandfather’s mission, where he spent 30 days in an undersea habitat.

Jacques Cousteau filmed his Oscar-winning documentary “World Without Sun” in 1963 in the Red sea.

Fabien Cousteau takes plunge to beat underwater record of family“There are a lot of challenges physically and psychologically,” said Cousteau, 46, who was born in Paris and grew up on his grandfather’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone.

Cousteau added: “We’ll be able to do Twitter chats, we’ll be able to do Skype sessions, we’ll be able to do Facebook posts and Instagram posts and all these things that we take for granted on land, but up until now it was impossible to do from down below.”

He plans to come out July 2.

Fabien Cousteau takes plunge to beat underwater record of family

The cylindrical 43-foot Aquarius sitting on a patch of sand near deep coral reefs is an air-conditioned school bus sized lab with wireless Internet access, a stocked kitchen, a shower, a bathroom, six bunks and portholes that give the occupants a 24-hour view of the surrounding marine life.

“There are many snorers in the group, but we’re so tired because we wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning and we go to sleep at 11 o’clock at night, that at 11 o’clock at night it takes about 30 seconds and we’re all out,” Cousteau said.

But still he feels comfortable in there, may be it is in the genes.

Comments

  1. RonJohn says:

    “There are a lot of challenges physically and psychologically,”

    Pfft. ISS missions are regularly 5x longer.

    • sproggit says:

      I’m ready to be corrected, but I think you will find the two experiences are quite dissimilar. The biggest difference between the ISS and Earth’s surface is the fact that microgravity causes early onset osteoporosis – the wasting away of bone. This can be limited by a combination of diet and resistance-based exercise.

      For the divers, the biggest difference is the pressure. Although the habitat is air-filled, I think you will find that it is pressure equalised with the ocean at that depth, which enables the divers to explore freely. The problem is that the soft tissues of the body absorb different gases very differently when under pressure, and the long term and high concentrations of I.e. Nitrogen in the blood and soft tissues are not well understood.

      The mere fact that the article refers back to Jacques-Yves record being such a long time ago gives you an indication of the fact that there have been *way* more people staying in space than doing something like this.

      Let’s be fair, both are extreme, both carry a myriad of dangers… But please understand that this is not remotely trivial…

      • RonJohn says:

        “Although the habitat is air-filled, I think you will find that it is pressure equalised with the ocean at that depth,”

        If that is the case, then yes, living for extended periods at 2.8x normal air pressure is *not* “pfft”. :)

        Did I miss the part of the article where it say that the Aquarius will be pressurized to ocean depth?

        • sproggit says:

          I don’t think you missed it in the original article, but then it wasn’t the best-researched piece in world. Here is visual confirmation that the habitat is pressure-equalised with the ocean:

          http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article3847397.ece

          Other pieces covering this on the web suggest that it’s at a depth of 19 metres, or 63 feet. I also read that the team anticipate a decompresion time of 18 hours. That’s interesting in itself, because it would represent an exceptionally long ascent if done in open water. I’m more inclined to think they will be retrieved by a pressurised submersible and transfered to a chamber once back on dry land.

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