SeaOrbiter Project to become a reality

You might have come across the intriguing, highly futuristic design of this ship/submarine/research laboratory some time over the past 12 years, since French architect Jacques Rougerie first presented his concept in 2000. However, this nearly impossible looking ‘ship’ has actually gathered enough support and traction that it is no longer remains a mere concept, with construction set to begin in October this year. This incredible sea-based lab is meant to present a new, immersive (literally!) means for scientists and marine researchers to study the oceans in their entirety. Inhabitat writes,

The SeaOrbiter would also be the world’s first vertical ship standing at an impressive 170 feet (51m) tall. However in order to make the vessel as stable as possible, two-thirds of its structure would remain underwater, giving the craft buoyancy, as well a “fish-collection system for studies of the pelagic ecosystem, plankton biodiversity, and fish stocks.”

The SeaOrbiter website states its mission:

Despite the fact that the world’s oceans cover no less than 70% of the surface of our planet, we know very little about these vast expanses of water. However we do know that they play a crucial role in our everyday lives and in our future: the major currents regulate our climate, they provide us with an ever greater source of food thanks to the development of aquaculture, the molecules that we continue to discover in the oceans contribute to healing our illnesses and will most likely continue to do so far into the future, and what’s more the new life forms that we discover in the depths call into question our pre-established ideas…

The main scientific missions of the Orbiter revolve around:

_Mankind living under the sea: studies led in parallel with space agencies on the physiology and the psychology of a crew living in a confined environment for long periods of time.
_Monitoring of pollution: aerosols, processes of bio-accumulation of pollutants
_Studies of marine biodiversity: the oasis of life in the ocean environment as a result of the phenomenon of aggregation linked to drifting structures, resource management, exploration of seamounts
_Climate studies via observation of currents: temperature, CO2 impact, ocean/atmosphere gas exchanges, calibration of satellite measuring equipment

Besides being an architectural marvel, the Sea Orbiter could also possibly transform our understanding of the oceans and their importance in maintaining harmony and balance in the natural environment. Watch the video here:

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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