Introducing Mission Aquarius - Dive into an Underwater Laboratory

Uploaded by OneWorldOneOcean on 02.07.2012

We know so little of what's underwater right now, and what we do know, we only have a snapshot.
Aquarius is a time machine for scientists.
It's not this pristine metal structure. It's a living reef. It's a living, breathing organism.
Aquarius is a national treasure.
Aquarius is a unique asset; it is a one of a kind saturation diving unit that is dedicated
to science, education, and outreach. It's a complete immersive experience that you can
find nowhere else on the planet.
So, the Aquarius habitat is sixty feet under water, surrounded by reef on three of the
sides and it is the only operating seafloor habitat in the world.
There's been over three hundred and fifty projects that have occurred out of this laboratory
and over four hundreds publications which is kind of the metric that we get measured
on a lot of times.
So, I tell my students that working under water is the most exciting, fun thing I do
as a scientist. Every time I live under water, I see something
new, and that leads to a host of new questions.
The real benefit, sciences wise, is you get about nine-fold increase productivity. You
can spend nine hours on the bottom at about ninety-five feet, whereas you will be lucky
to spend an hour a day diving from the surface.
One of the cool things we can do is get done in nine days under water, what might take
nine months or a year if we were diving from a boat at the surface.
What Aquarius does, is it gives you that opportunity to live on the bottom, and actually concentrate
on research.
The mission coming up this July is really exciting for us here at Aquarius because it
represents fifty years of habitat experience.
We have this unique opportunity to bring together top-notch scientists like Mark Patterson,
a world-renowned marine biologist. Like Sylvia Earle, she was part of the TEKTITE II mission,
back in the 70's.
But more importantly, Sylvia really is a spokesperson for the ocean, and for protecting the oceans,
and understanding the oceans, and that is hugely valuable, so we're really happy to
have Sylvia engaged in this mission.
While science is a big part of what we are going to do in July, outreach and education
is actually going to take the center stage.
We often get asked the question: "What is going to happen with Aquarius?" There has
been some budgetary questions within congress and otherwise related to this mission, and
its definitely an issue which has us very interested and quite concerned. This mission
is an opportunity to really engage people with the habitat and understand what benefits
of the habitat are.
If the Aquarius program is ever shutdown, what's going be lost is a national asset;
we are losing the world's only underwater laboratory. Fifty plus years of a legacy and
it's not easy to restart that if it's ever lost.
Our budget ranged anywhere from 1.2 million to 4 million dollars a year. It's a drop in
the bucket when you compare it to bigger picture items.
Let take Aquarius to the next level and let's see what can happen. We're hoping to spawn
to the next generation of seekers and solvers.