A project of renowned Ocean explorer and conservationist, Fabien Cousteau, fuseproject designed PROTEUS™—the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station and habitat to address humanity’s critical concerns: scientific discoveries, food sustainability, and the impacts of climate change. From the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (FCOLC), PROTEUS™ is conceived as the underwater version of the International Space Station; it will be a platform for global collaboration amongst the world’s leading researchers, academics, government agencies, and corporations to advance science to benefit the future of the planet.
PROTEUS™ will be three or four times the size of any previously built sub marine habitats, accommodating up to twelve people at once. Based on the concept of a spiral, the research center is attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain.
A series of modular pods are attached to the main body of PROTEUS™ and accommodate a variety of uses including laboratories, sleeping quarters, bathrooms, medical bays, life support systems, and storage. The largest pod contains a moon pool allowing submersibles to dock. These pods can be attached or detached to adapt to the specific needs of the users over time.
The underwater facility allows divers to spend entire days conducting research on the ocean floor because they are already saturated (equalized bloodstream with suitable gasses at the pressure of surrounding water)—dramatically accelerating their research capacity—and do not have to subject themselves to daily decompression and exposure to surface weather.
The two levels of PROTEUS™ are connected by a spiral ramp to encourage physical activity and movement for the inhabitants. The ramp connects the main spaces within PROTEUS™ which are designed to feel inviting and comfortable. These common spaces include a living room, kitchen, dining, and work areas. PROTEUS™ will also have the first underwater greenhouse so residents can grow fresh plant food in order to solve the challenge of not being able to cook with open flames.
Two other challenges to staying underwater for long spans of time is the social isolation and lack of natural light. PROTEUS™’s central spaces will provide physical comfort, social connection and professional collaboration. Additionally, the station will be designed to gather as much light as possible from windows, on the top, and around the sides of the structure.