The Red Bulletin June 2019

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B U L L E V A R D

3 4

Ocean Space

Habitat

1

SLEEPING WITH

THE FISHES

This ocean explorer has made it

possible to sleep underwater –

by creating a subaquatic tent

2

5

1. The inflatable

habitat is attached

to bridles anchored

to the sea floor

2. Interior atmosphere

is maintained by a

replenishable oxygen

source with carbondioxide

extractors

3. A dry chamber

accommodates two

divers in comfort,

three at a push

4. The fabric-embedded

vinyl shell is reinforced

with nylon straps and

has windows

5. The entire habitat

collapses down to

luggage size for

transportation

H umans have always

daydreamed about living in

the ocean; from stories of

mermaids to the lost city

of Atlantis, the deep sea

occupies a vivid place in

our imagination. Now, an

underwater tent that allows

us to breathe, eat and sleep

hundreds of metres below

the surface is bringing that

fantasy closer to reality.

The concept behind the

Ocean Space Habitat is pretty

simple: made from vinyl

and nylon with polyester

strapping, it has internal aircirculating

fans and carbondioxide

scrubbers to provide

a breathable atmosphere for

up to six hours. “It’s much like

placing an inverted glass in

a sink to make an air pocket,”

says its co-creator, ocean

scientist Michael Lombardi.

“It’s essentially a tent filled

with air that displaces the

water inside, creating a void.”

We currently accomplish

very limited and temporary

visits to the undersea world.

Compare the knowledge we

have of the ocean bed with

the exploration of outer space:

whereas 12 humans have

stepped onto the surface of

the Moon, only three have

descended to the deepest part

of the ocean. “For more than

half a century, divers have

gone by the rule that we can

dive to 60ft [18m] for 60

minutes without suffering

from decompression sickness.

Bring an underwater habitat

into the mix, however, and

a researcher can spend six

hours or more working at 60ft

throughout the day.”

The next step for the camp

is to attempt overnight trips.

The atmosphere has to be

monitored and managed

for both carbon dioxide

and oxygen,” says Lombardi.

“Our goal over the next year

is to develop protocols that

allow for an overnight stay.

An afternoon hike is always

beneficial to learning, but an

overnight or weekend-long

camping trip sheds light on

all sorts of new discoveries

within that environment.

My hope is that we can stray

away from being short-time

visitors to the ocean towards

having a more intertwined

relationship with and within

the sea.”

Atlantis may only be

a fantasy, but this two-man

tent is our first step to a

genuine undersea life.

oceanopportunity.com

MICHAEL LOMBARDI LOU BOYD CHRISTINA LOCK

20 THE RED BULLETIN

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