Photo: Fabien Cousteau
Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of late French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and his team have completed their 31-day mission on the Aquarius underwater laboratory in the Florida Keys and are now in the decompression phase.
The team has been underwater since June 1 at the Aquarius Reef Base, located at a depth of 19.2 meters (40 feet) off Key West and operated by Florida International University, or FIU.
The researchers conducted a series of studies, taking temperature readings, testing the water’s acidity and examining the erosion of the area’s coral reef.
Aquarius is located 3.7 nautical miles off the coast and has hosted 16 teams of astronauts who trained for the conditions of space at the facility.
Jacques-Ives Cousteau (1910-1997) created a human habitat in 1963 at the bottom of the sea dubbed the Aquarius Reef Base and remained there with a team of experts for 30 days.
Fabien Cousteau visited Aquarius for the first time in 2012 and began planning Mission 31 at that time.
The underwater base is in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary at the extreme southern tip of the state.