It looks like something from an imaginative science fiction book cover, but it’s not science fiction. The SeaOrbiter is a futuristic marine research and exploration vessel – or it’s going to be. They’ve already successfully procured the funding to begin construction. The SeaOrbiter resembles nothing less than a starship meant for sea travel, and is expected to be complete by 2016.
Drifting on major ocean currents, the SeaOrbiter will be a 51 meter high vertical ship, with 31 meters submerged under water. It will use solar, wind and wave power, and cary 18 to 22 researchers and guests. It will be able to explore the ocean depths as far down as 6,000 meters, thanks to an assortment of resources ranging from human divers to robotic exploration vehicles. Its mission is defined through five principles: explore, understand, solutions to emerge, alert and educate.
The ship will have 12 decks, each serving various purposes. This cross section illustration shows how it will all be laid out, and rather closely resembles similar illustrations from Star Trek space ship designs. There will be everything from a bridge to a sickbay, and pressurized cabins for divers working on deep sea exploration. It will even have drones, and its own submarine.
The project has been under development for over 10 years, and has been dismissed several times as nothing more than a daydream. Extensive research and testing is already done, modeling the behavior of the vessel to make sure the principles of its operation actually work. We will soon be seeing the creation of the most remarkable seagoing vessel every built. The project has been backed by some of the world’s largest companies -Rolex, Norwegian laboratory MARINTEK, the TECHNIP and the DCNS, one of Europe’s leading shipbuilders.
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In other words, and in true modern-day fashion, the rest of the world is advancing while the United States can’t even decide if angels are real or not.