Jacques Cousteau’s grandson, Fabien, continues the family tradition to explore the oceans. Fabien is planning to build an underwater habitat called Proteus in 60 feet of water off the coast of Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean Sea.
Original Article published on July 22, 2020 in Forbes Magazine
📸: Yves Behar & FuseProject
By: Alex Knapp, Katie Jennings
Fabien Cousteau was born to be an aquanaut. The grandson of the famed explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau learned how to scuba dive at the age of four and grew up joining his grandfather on research expeditions. “Scuba diving is an amazing blessing, but there’s a very real limit of time,” he says.
One way to circumvent that time limit is to live in an underwater habitat, which provides researchers the opportunity to do more extended work in the ocean. His grandfather pioneered such habitats in the 1960s, and today Fabien plans to continue that legacy with the construction of Proteus, an underwater habitat and research station that would be one of the largest ever built.
The habitat will take three years to complete, located 60 feet underwater in a marine protected area off the coast of Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean Sea. And it will have room for up to 12 people to live underwater for weeks—possibly even months—at a time.
That’s a serious upgrade for underwater habitats, which in the past have ranged in size from a minivan to a large school bus. “Most of the habitats were purpose-built for one mission or set of missions,” says Fabien, who founded the New York-based non-profit organization Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center in 2016. “They were never conceived as an International Space Station, something that’s to be deployed for a longer period of time.”
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