PROTEUS™, the ‘International Space Station’ of the Ocean

PROTEUS™, the ‘International Space Station’ of the Ocean

A healthy Ocean is indispensable to solving the planet’s biggest problems. Challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses represent a multi-trillion-dollar risk to the global economy.  

“No ocean, no life. Despite its essential role, we’ve only explored 5% of the ocean, and our ability to understand and protect it greatly depends on effective marine science and research, and to inspire and engage with the broader public. Yet, there exists no modern research habitat to perform in situ experiments at depth within the ocean dramatically limiting essential research and critical data collection”, says Fabien Cousteau, visionary behind PROTEUS™.

PROTEUS™ is envisioned as the ‘International Space Station’ of the Ocean.  Fabien and team are building Proteus as a laboratory habitat and collaborative global network of research institutions, public and private sector entities, and Universities that will accelerate research and development, drive solutions, build business opportunities, and connect the world to our Ocean. 

Photo caption: Fabien Cousteau’s PROTEUS™. Concept designs by Yves Béhar and fuseproject

Proteus, the largest and most technologically advanced marine station ever built, which will grant scientists and aquanauts the time to conduct continuous night and day diving and data collection.

The Proteus marine research platform, amongst its many functions, will enable the discovery of new species of marine life, create a better understanding of how climate change affects the Ocean, and allow for the testing of advanced new technologies for green power, aquaculture, diagnostics, and robotic exploration. 

Proteus allows divers to spend an entire day conducting research on the Ocean floor because they are saturated (when the bloodstream is equalized with suitable gasses at the pressure of the surrounding water). Saturation enables humans to live, work and explore underwater.  Proteus will be, in effect, a ‘time acceleration platform’, it will allow researchers to maximize the time they continuously spend on the ocean floor, thus increasing available research hours on any given day.

“Proteus is a hopeful step forward in spreading the message that we must protect the Ocean as if our lives depend on it. Living underwater gives us the gift of time and the incredible perspective of being a resident on the reef. You’re not just a visitor anymore,” stated Dr. Sylvia Earle, Ocean Ambassador of the FCOLC and American marine biologist, explorer, and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, and fondly known as “Her Deepness”.

The first Proteus will be installed in the waters of Curacao within a rich biodiverse marine protected area with pristine coral. It is envisioned as being modular, upgradable, multi-purpose, and capable of keeping up with future demands. Proteus will be built sustainably and will have both state-of-the-art wet and dry labs, a moon-pool that will accommodate a submersible, accommodate approximately 12 people for longer extended stays, a hydroponic garden, and a broadcast production studio to communicate and share rich content. Proteus itself will be a technological innovation that will in turn test and facilitate the innovation of many new technologies.

Proteus is the first in a network of underwater research labs and habitats, essential to driving meaningful solutions that protect the future of our planet.  The knowledge that will be uncovered underwater will forever change the way generations of humans live up above.                

As Fabien’s grandfather, Jacques Cousteau often said, “People protect what they love, they love what they understand, and they understand what they are taught.” Until more people feel they have access to the ocean and can understand what it can provide and how they are connected to it, change cannot be enacted. The more we learn about our human connection to the ocean, the more we can grapple with what we need to know, make better decisions to secure a sustainable future to pass on to the next generation. 

Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (a 501(c)(3)) (FCOLC) is a major stakeholder in POG and leads the educational programming.  Proteus is operationalized and run by Proteus Ocean Group, Ltd. (POG), a private sector social enterprise, a sustainable for-profit business that will scale and have global impact. POG manages the coordination of and partnerships with strategic collaborators such as Northeastern, Rutgers, Gov’t bodies (Curacao), quasi-governmental bodies (CARMABI) and private sector partners.

For information, please contact Lisa Marrocchino, CEO, Proteus Ocean Group, Ltd. at [email protected]

Photo caption: Fabien Cousteau’s PROTEUS™. Concept designs by Yves Béhar and fuseproject