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When I grow up…

Aquarius Reef Base

Aquarius Reef Base

…I want to be an aquanaut.

Yes an aquanaut. Due to the recent end of the U.S. space program…my dreams to become an astronaut have been crushed, so I had to resort to other measures.

Some of you may be wondering…what exactly is an aquanaut and what do they do?  Well for one…it’s only the coolest job…ever. For those of you who need a bit more on the details, an aquanaut is somewhat like an underwater astronaut. Normally, most divers are limited underwater by the amount of air they have in their tanks, as well as, the nitrogen that the human body accrues while under pressure. As you can imagine, these limitations can make marine science and unlocking the knowledge of the deep a bit of a challenge. Hence, the underwater research facility was born.

Located roughly 9 miles off the coast, in the beautiful aquamarine waters of Key Largo, lies Aquarius. Currently, Aquarius is the only underwater research facility in the world and is owned and maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The station allows researchers to remain underwater for about 10 days at a time so that they can work round the clock and not have to worry about certain limiting conditions that come with normal recreational diving.

For those of you who would like to know more, there is currently a mission in progress that a couple of friends of mine are involved in, looking at the restoration of coral reefs by manipulating herbivore density.

Dr. Mark Hay, the prinicple investigator of this mission, explains both the science currently in progress and what it is like living underwater:

And if you are truly a science geek, or just a creeper (don’t worry I do it too), you can stream the live feeds from both the inside and outside of the habitat. It’s like the “Real World: Ecology”

Take me to: Aquarius Reef Base


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