NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 11, 2013) - No exploration team has ever spent 31 full days submerged underwater in the name of science and discovery, but a new ocean exploration endeavor named Mission 31 led by noted filmmaker and oceanographic explorer, Fabien Cousteau will launch this fall to test new science and tech-based experiments with underwater motorcycles, autonomous robots and Kirby Morgan tech diving helmets.
Cousteau announced the global Mission 31 endeavor on the anniversary of his grandfather's birthday (June 11). Aquarius, owned by NOAA and managed by Florida International University, will serve as Mission 31's base camp for Cousteau's team to explore climate, pollution and overconsumption problems. Located 63 feet under sea level in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (nine miles south of Key Largo), this "inner-space" station is the only undersea marine habitat and lab in the world and will be the longest mission Aquarius has hosted.
Cousteau's endeavour will break new ground in ocean exploration and also coincides with the 50th anniversary of a monumental legacy left by is grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau, credited with creating the first underwater habitats for humans and leading a team of ocean explorers on the first attempt to live and work underwater aboard Conshelf Two. The ambitious 30-day living experiment in the Red Sea succeeded as the first effort in saturation diving, proving that it could be done without suffering any ill effects. Mission 31 will expand the 50-year-old Cousteau legacy by one full day, 30 more feet of saturation and will broadcast every second on multiple channels exposing the world to the adventure, risk and mystique of what lies beneath.
"When my grandfather's Conshelf Two mission was complete he produced an Academy Award-winning documentary film (World Without Sun), but still received critisim rooted in disbelief of how he captured the mind-boggling underwater scenes," says Cousteau. "Using the latest camera technology, we will be able to show the world every second of Mission 31 in unedited, real-time and I believe it's going to shock people. We have explored less than five percent of our ocean realms; there's so much more to be discovered."
Saturation training for Mission 31 starts mid-Sept. and Cousteau's team will submerge on Sept. 30 for the first full day on Aquarius, Oct. 1. Each day of the mission can be seen by students worldwide via live Skype video calls into classrooms around the world. The Weather Channel has also partnered with Cousteau to provide ongoing coverage including live reports throughout the mission. Cousteau's production team Bonnets Rouges and Liquid Pictures will be shooting footage for a longer format IMAX documentary.
During Mission 31, research will be conducted on the underwater effects of climate change on corals, sponges and sea life with scientific advice and mission support from Northeastern University's Urban Coastal Sustainability Initiative. Cousteau's team will lead human physiological and psychological experiments to determine how long humans can live without the sun, the effects of long-term high pressure and Divers Alert Network (DAN) research team will study prolonged confinement on brain function and the physiological effects after long-term saturation diving.
OceanElders organization, which includes Sir Richard Branson, Sylvia A. Earle, Jackson Browne, Neil Young and others, will assist in raising awareness and VIP visits to Aquarius during Mission 31. Global music artist, will.i.am, and founder of the i.am.angel Foundation will sponsor 12 high school students from his i.am College Track program to receive scuba training visits during the mission. DOXA watches will be the official timekeeper for the mission and will commemorate the endeavor with a Mission 31 watch.
To become a supporting partner, visit: www.mission-31.com. Follow Mission 31 at: www.facebook.com/CousteauMission31, and www.twitter.com/Mission_31.