Sometimes underwater environments are more difficult than outer space. This is especially true at greater depths. A team from Great Britain has now submitted plans for a particularly ambitious underwater project: an underwater habitat called Sentinel, which could be positioned at a depth of about 200 metres. If this project goes ahead, it could end up being similar in function to the International Space Station (ISS) – only underwater instead of in space. There is no doubt that such a project will have the potential to revolutionize the exploration of deep ocean regions.
200 meters below the surface
The project is managed by the aptly named deep ocean technology and exploration company. Sentinel is planned to be based off the southwest coast of the United Kingdom, possibly off the coast of Wales. The station is scheduled to be placed there at a depth of about 200 kilometers, which means that it will be at the bottom of the so-called upper region of the sea. Researchers can access the station via submarine. It will also be modular and portable so it can be used in other locations.
“The epipelagic minimum zone is the deepest point where sunlight penetrates the ocean and it is estimated that 90% of marine life is found in this zone. The ability to comprehensively explore the full extent of this part of the ocean rather than just making incursions from the surface would represent a radical change in the way scientists can observe, observe and understand the oceans. After two years of extensive and pioneering research into innovative manufacturing processes and materials science, Deep has reached an advanced stage of technical design and has begun production. The deep system provides a radically more efficient way to live and work underwater than has existed before. Previously, underwater facilities were temporary and fixed-site. Deep Forte is modular, scalable, self-contained, recoverable, reconfigurable, and redeployable“, says a press release from Depp.
Life in the depths of the sea
At least if we’re to believe the drawings available so far, the researchers at Sentinel Station will be living in relative comfort given it’s located in the most challenging environment on Earth. The station will contain research laboratories and lounge areas. There was even a TV. The sanitary area should contain a shower, toilet and sink.
Depp wants to enable a permanent human presence underwater, similar to what happened with the International Space Station in space. People will be living at Sentinel Station starting in 2027. But it’s still a long and rocky road until then. For example, the structural stability of the station must be ensured under the enormous pressure at this depth. In addition, Sentinel must be constantly supplied with oxygen and energy. The team is said to be already working on a renewable energy source as well as a large-scale bioreactor for all waste products. According to the company, discussions are currently underway with potential investors and partners.
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