This Starship Enterprise Of The Sea Will Launch Its Exploration In 2016 | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Posted: November 22, 2013 in Scifi
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seaquestdsvOkay, this is the wrong picture for this entry but it still fits a bit. If you don’t know this ship, this is from the NBC series called seaQuest DSV. I guess seaQuest could be considered the Starship Enterprise of its day because it’s mission dealt with exploring the final frontier except it was underwater. The series lasted for three years and it was struggling to find itself and how to tell stories ala Star Trek. If you know you scifi history, this was not the only water based series on tv. There was Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea which dealt with protecting Earth from any terrestrial  and extraterrestrial threats. And, to a small degree, there was UFO by Gerry Anderson that special forces on the moon, on earth and underwater. This last group had Skydiver –  a submarine with a submersible that was able to detach from the submarine and then fly out of the water. Now, that was cool.

So, this begs, will this new SeaOrbiter spark the imagination of kids today much like how Star Trek moved a generation? When I watched seaQuest, Bob Ballard, a very famous oceanographer who found the Titanic, would have a quick segment at the end of every episode. Bob would quickly discuss the science facts that was presented in the science fiction show. This format tried to make the show more grounded in reality even though we are a couple of decades away. Still, this was a novel approach and sadly, that all changed in the next two seasons as science fact was axed for more science fiction.

Now, we have the International Space Station (ISS) flying high above. Every once in a while we get to see how the astronauts conduct experiments and do a music video. Considering how important oceans play an important part of our lives, climate change, and the green movement, I think the success of the SeaOrbiter should tap into the consciousness of today’s youth. There is nothing wrong in stealing some things from Star Trek or from real life examples from the ISS. While this ship will be able to conduct research much longer out in the ocean they should be used to showcase themselves and highlight our global issues in a new and engaging showcase at the same time.

On a side note, I do not like being underwater. I have freaked out on the one and only time I rode the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Walt Disney World. Never again!!!!

If you want to do deep sea ocean research today, you’ll have to take a journey to the Florida Keys, where the world’s last remaining underwater research lab, the Aquarius, is housed.

But that’s soon about to change. When it’s completed, the SeaOrbiter, a spaceship-like underwater vessel, will become the first ocean lab where researchers can live 24/7 over long periods of time. (The Aquarius, in comparison, goes on missions for 10 days on average.) It’s the Starship Enterprise of the sea, exploring parts of the ocean where no man has gone before.


Image: Courtesy of SeaOrbiter

The $43 million SeaOrbiter project is the result of a 30-year research and design process. Created by sea architect Jacques Rougerie and guided by experts like Jean-Michel Cousteau and former NASA chief Daniel Goldin, the vessel will hold a crew of up to 22 people when it launches. Its first trip will be to Monaco, where Rougerie hopes that researchers will gather new details about the vast underwater areas surrounding the country.

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