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Proteus: The Underwater Space Station Set to Revolutionize Marine Research in the Caribbean

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  • Imagine an underwater research station the size of the international space station, nestled 60 feet beneath the Caribbean waves.
  • In May, the NOAA and the Proteus Ocean Group joined forces to create Proteus, a cutting-edge marine observatory.
  • Founded by Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, Proteus aims to revolutionize oceanic exploration and climate research.

What’s being called the equivalent of the international space station but built 60 feet under the sea will become a reality in the Caribbean by 2026. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Proteus Ocean Group signed an agreement in May to do just this off Curacao. This underwater state-of-the-art modular underwater habitat, observatory, and research platform, aptly named Proteus, will be a place where scientists and global customers can study marine life, the effects of climate change, and more. The project, featuring the world’s most advanced underwater station of its kind, was founded by Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the late ocean exploration pioneer, Jacques Cousteau.

“On Proteus will have unbridled access to the ocean 24/7, making possible long-term studies with continuous human observation and experimentation. With NOAA’s collaboration, the discoveries we can make — concerning climate refugia, super corals, life-saving drugs, microenvironmental data tied to climate events, and many others — will be truly groundbreaking. We look forward to sharing those stories with the world,” said Cousteau, founder, and chief oceanic explorer of the Proteus Ocean Group.

The nearly 4,000-square-foot Proteus will be built off Fuik, off the southeast coast of Curacao. The Netherlands Antilles island is the favored site for Proteus because of its accessible coral reefs and rich biodiverse marine ecosystems. www.proteusoceangroup.com

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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