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By NAN Travel Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Sept. 28, 2021: As more and more focus shifts to climate change and rising sea levels, the world’s first underwater ‘space’ station is coming to the Caribbean.

Renowned aquanaut, ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau of Proteus Ocean Group, will launch his project, PROTEUS, in Curacao.

It 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 is being promoted as “the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station and habitat to address humanity’s most critical concerns: medicinal discoveries, food sustainability, and the impacts of climate change.”

PROTEUS™ is envisioned to be more than four times the size of any previously known underwater habitat, and will feature state-of-the-art labs, sleeping quarters, and a moon pool.  PROTEUS™ will include the first underwater greenhouse, allowing inhabitants to grow fresh plant  life for food, marking a unique approach to address some challenges that come with underwater  living, such as not being allowed to cook with open flames. The habitat will be sustainably powered by hybrid sources including wind and solar. It will include a full-scale video production facility to provide continuous live streaming for educational programming, and delivery of augmented and virtual reality to collaborators world-wide.

Cousteau was recently on the island to conduct a site mapping with a team of 4 experts from Map the Gaps and R2Sonic.

Cousteau and Proteus Ocean Group are working with Map the Gaps and R2Sonic to map the entire marine-protected area, covering a total surface area of 1,482 acres of reef and 1,077 acres of inner bays, in Curaçao.

Map the Gaps is a non-profit organization formed of maritime mapping professionals, students and industry partners committed to growing awareness and increasing diversity in ocean mapping. R2Sonic provides technologically advanced multibeam echosounders that deliver high quality of data.  In this project R2Sonic is dedicated to help collect the hydrographic data and share it so that all of us can learn more about our underwater terrain.

Together, these organizations will provide vital data and a deeper knowledge base to benefit Curaçao, by enabling sustainable conservation measures. It will also provide critical information for the site of the first PROTEUS™, which is planned to be located off of the Island of Curaçao, at a depth of 60 feet (3 atmospheres), in a marine-protected area.

“As our life support system, the ocean is indispensable to solving the planet’s biggest problems.  Challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses represent a multi-trillion-dollar risk to the global economy,” stated Cousteau. “Surprisingly, despite the ocean representing over 99% of our world’s living space, only 5% has been explored to date. PROTEUS™, contemplated as the first in a network of underwater habitats, is essential to driving meaningful solutions that protect the future of our planet. The knowledge that will be uncovered underwater will forever change the way generations of humans live up above.”

“As an island recognized worldwide for its pristine oceans and diverse marine life, we are honored to have Curaçao as home to PROTEUS™. We fully support the team involved in this project and are committed to the vision and partnership, serving as stewards for the environment,” commented Hugo Clarinda, Deputy Director of the Curaçao Tourist Board. “This is an impressive and important project for science, the world and the future of our fragile eco-system, full of immense riches yet to be discovered. Curaçao is passionate about the health of our oceans and will continue to be advocates of this type of research and projects of this magnitude.”

Sithree van Heydoorn, the Minister of Education commented: “The site mapping is an exciting next step in the building of PROTEUS™ — which will allow for unprecedented access to a deeper understanding of the ocean. Through its development, we’ll be able to learn more about the marine biodiversity of Curacao on a local level and further educate the community on the human-ocean connection.”

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