Star Trek Meets SeaQuest in Real Life Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact Yet Again

I love this kind of stuff.

Now, it was trippy enough for me when I was a kid watching Star Trek use their wireless communicators, only to grow up and have a smartphone that I can actually use to make a video call. But now, some deep sea researchers are suiting up in a big way, and it makes me feel like a kid again. They are approaching the exploration of the sea the same way NASA approaches the exploration of space.

Now, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. I love that little factoid. That’s why the SeaOrbiter was created.

The SeaOrbiter is a marine research vessel created by French architect Jacques Rougerie, and it mirrors the kind of self-contained ocean laboratory that has been depicted in science fiction for more than a century. It’s like a Starship Enterprise designed to go where no one has gone before, only underwater.

It’s a half submarine/ half sailing ship hybrid that was created to observe the underwater world without creating a man-made mess out of the habitat it was designed to study. It’s 58 meters tall, and rather than being propelled by engines, it will simply drift with the ocean’s currents, with 18 people living on board the special pressurized cabins, not unlike astronauts on the space shuttle.

I could describe more of it to you, but the Web site does a much better job that I could have:

SeaOrbiter is a new human adventure dedicated to the Planet.

It is part of the history of the great explorations of our universe led by illustrious predecessors and great adventurers such as Jules Verne, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Jacques Piccard …

It also constitutes a new planetary challenge.

Its purpose is to foster the emergence of a new relationship between man and the sea by the awakening, awareness and action of all to meet tomorrow’s every requirement for a future based on the precepts of sustainable development, particularly related to the sea.

Joining the SeaOrbiter in thus:


  • Participating in the great adventure of human exploration in the 21st century
  • Boarding to explore the last frontier on earth
  • Recognizing that human survival depends on preserving the oceans
  • Meeting the global challenge for a better understanding of this universe still widely unknown
  • Living under the sea 24 hours a day over long periods at the very heart of the oceans
  • Residing in a nomadic underwater home wandering amidst the mightiest of gardens: the ocean
  • Allowing better commitment from the younger generations with regard to the planetary challenges of tomorrow
  • Promoting awareness for sustainable integration of the ocean in our attitudes and behaviors to come

Sailing with the SeaOrbiter is moving from:


  • Discontinuous observation to continuous observation of the underwater world
  • Erratic intrusion to a perfect symbiosis with the marine ecosystem
  • Passive observation to proactive monitoring of the ocean
  • Complex oceanic penetration to easy and permanent access to the underwater world
  • A linear approach to the ocean to a real three-dimensional understanding of it
  • The remote maritime adventure to a network of sentinels serving the Blue Planet

SeaOrbiter hence allows:


  • Implementation of a change in relationship between man and the ocean
  • Development of a planetary educational plan concerning the oceans
  • Establishment of an international scientific research and technological programs
  • More sophisticated understanding of the mechanisms linking the ocean and the earth’s climate
  • Testing of human behavior and ability to live in space related underwater extreme environment
  • Emergence of new vocations and new expertise
  • Production of interactive multimedia programs accessible to all

Is this a cool time to be alive, or what?

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