This is the SeaOrbiter, a 200-foot tall floating platform for aquatic exploration, and construction on it is due to begin this spring. A project by French architect Jacques Rougerie. The boat is meant to accommodate a team of 18-22 researchers, who will be able to spend 24 hours a day underwater. Cool!
"Slightly over half of the structure will be submerged, and as you can see the core of the design is a sort of eight-story building housing a variety of labs and living quarters for the crew. The underside of the structure houses dive pits, special pressurized living quarters and “underwater garages.” Human divers living at atmospheric pressure can get down to 50 meters below the surface, while “saturation divers” living in the pressureized chambers can get down to 100 meters; beyond that, the SeaOrbiter will deploy exploration vehicles that can travel down to 1,000 meters, and will also deploy a bad-ass diving drone that can descend to 6,000 meters.
Rougerie was able to secure some 70% of the €35 million required for construction, then turned to a Kickstarter-lookalike crowdfunding site called KissKissBankBank for the remaining 30%. The target was finally reached just last week, and construction is scheduled to begin shortly."
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