Legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau passed away 17 years ago, but his legacy and his family name live on. Today, his 46 year old grandson, Fabian Cousteau will venture below the sea in an underwater laboratory called Aquarius with the goal of living there for 31 days.
According to Reuters, the cylindrical 43-foot Aquarius is the last undersea laboratory functioning today and is operated by Florida International University. It sits 63 feet below the surface of the ocean near the deep coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. If successful with Mission 31, Fabian will break the record set by his grandfather in 1963 when Jacques lived with six other scientists, for 30 days in an aquatic lab in The Red Sea.
Jacques Cousteau would surely be pleased with his grandson's attempt to break his record. This mission introduces an entirely new generation to the Cousteau family's many decades spent studying the sea and all its inhabitants.
The Aquarius has wireless Internet access which allows the younger Cousteau to do something even his brilliant grandfather was unable to; broadcast live to the entire world. Teams aboard the lab will use Skype to talk with classrooms around the globe.
Science enthusiasts can follow Mission 31 scientists on Twitter and on the Mission 31 website. The Miami Herald reports that some of the mission topics will focus on climate change's impact on the ocean, as well as ocean pollution and acidification.
The crew will spend much of their time out of the lab conducting research on the coral reef 's health and physiology, specifically the loss of large predators caused by over-fishing, and the impact it has on coral reefs. Fabian plans to resurface on July 2nd.
Jacques Cousteau was born in 1910. Before his life as an explorer, he was a French Naval officer. Cousteau left the military in 1949, and one year later, founded the French Oceanographic Campaigns. He leased the now famous ship, The Calypso, then remodeled it into a mobile laboratory for field research and it was his principal vessel for diving and filming.
In his lifetime, Cousteau authored over 50 books and created over 120 television documentaries for which he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1987. He is known as a conversationalist, as well as an educator, filmmaker and photographer. Jacques Cousteau's life was dedicated to educating the world about the ocean. Now, thanks to his grandson and today's technology, his legacy will reach further than ever before.
[Images via Time and Bing]