The underwater Aquarius Reef Base is the last of its kind. It’s a sea lab 50 feet below sea level in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. It’s a place for scientist to understand the disappearance of the coral reef, a training ground for NASA astronauts and a research facility to study sea sponges. The Aquarius had its last scheduled mission due to budget cuts in the program.
Ocean exploration journalist Brian Lam spent 82 minutes with the research team to document their last mission. The team of Aquanauts will be spending 7 days underwater in the Aquarius sea base exploring the coral reef. Lam, along with filmmaker Marc Ostrick and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacque Cousteau, took a tour of this magnificent facility.
The short video the team of explorers and journalist put together for OneWorldOneOcean.org is extraordinary! They managed to capture how claustrophobic the underwater base must be. It’s remarkable to think this underwater base has full access to the Internet with their wi-fi set up.
At the moment of Lam’s visit, the aquanauts were getting in their supplies and equipment, which were brought down separately in bolted shut canisters. The team has enough food for the 7-day expedition and from the looks of it, appears to be mostly snacks like crackers and peanut M&Ms. They eat their meals at a table with, as Professor of Marine Science Mark Patterson puts it, “a million dollar view” of the ocean floor.
There is actually a live link into Aquarius via a U-Stream weblink if you’re interested in peering into this fantastic underwater base station. Brain Lam also recounted his entire experience with the aquanauts of the Aquarius for Gizmodo.com.