October 2, 2013

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the famed SCUBA inventor Jacques-Yves Cousteau, plans to continue the family tradition of pushing the limits under the waves. In a little over a month, Fabien will descend into the last remaining underwater marine lab in the world — Aquarius in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary — to spend 31 days in the habitat as part of his Mission 31. The duration of the mission is twice the length of any previous Aquarius mission and one day longer than his grandfather’s stay in Conshelf II undersea research station. He will quite literally be pushing the known boundaries of human subaquatic exposure.

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“It’s about the adventure of discovery — about pushing the boundaries that are familiar to us,” Fabien told Mission Blue. “Human emotion will help give us focus: we’ve got 31 days to explore topics that matter to us all. How does climate change affect us? Why should we care? And the same for other issues like pollution and ocean acidification. How do these things affect the Earth’s greatest circulatory system of life…our own circulatory system.”

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In addition to conducting scientific research, Mission 31 has the added ambitious goal of providing a robust educational curriculum to classrooms across the world via live video feeds. The leaders of tomorrow and the general public are cordially invited to join Fabien, and with his bright disposition and immense knowledge of the blue, we can expect Mission 31 to put the ocean squarely in front of lots of minds — young and old.

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Fabien also wishes to draw attention to the Aquarius underwater habitat whose funding continues to be threatened. Indeed, the sole remaining underwater marine lab in the world could shut down as early as next year if the government, scientists, educators and the public at large do not show their support. Aquarius has facilitated countless critical scientific and public awareness missions over the years, notably one by Dr. Sylvia Earle last year, in which she and Fabien successfully lobbied to keep the lab open a little bit longer.

Show your support for continued underwater discovery by supporting Mission 31’s Indiegogo Campaign. Every penny counts! Also, keep tabs on Fabien through his website and the website dedicated solely to Mission 31.

What happens when someone goes underwater in a 43 foot tube for that long? What happens to our stress levels? To our sense of taste? What can we learn about our environment and about ourselves? Keep an eye on Mission 31 for the answers!

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