Gallery: The SeaOrbiter: Futuristic Marine Research Vessel Launches Cro...


A few years ago, there were rumors that a futuristic oceanographic marine vessel would be constructed with the sole aim of exploring the world’s oceans. Known as The SeaOrbiter, it would serve as a scientific laboratory as scientists explore the places that cover two-thirds of our planet and contain 80 percent of all life on Earth — the oceans. Now it appears the dream is becoming a reality, as the SeaOrbiter team has announced that construction will begin by Spring next year!

The brainchild of French architect Jacques Rougerie, The SeaOrbiter would also be the world’s first vertical ship standing at an impressive 170 feet (51m) tall. However, in order to make the vessel as stable as possible, two-thirds of its structure would remain underwater, giving the craft buoyancy, as well a “fish-collection system for studies of the pelagic ecosystem, plankton biodiversity, and fish stocks.”

The SeaOrbiter concept has been discussed for over 12 years and has been dismissed on countless occasions as a pipe dream, but it seems like the project has gained traction and construction is rumored to start as soon as April 2014 – depending on how well its crowd funding campaign goes.

It is also completely sustainable with the craft’s power coming from solar, wind and wave power. Although it is designed to drift with ocean currents, EADS, the European defense and space systems conglomerate, is said to be working on a biofuel that would serve as an alternative power source.

“All technical issues are resolved, all the modeling is done,” says Ariel Fuchs, education and media director of the SeaOrbiter project speaking to CNN. “We gathered institutional and industrial support five or six years ago and it’s been a real institutional and financial project for the last two years.”

In the past, Rougerie has said the SeaOrbiter would become an essential tool in exploring the world’s oceans and a useful base to study the link between global warming and the oceans, which absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions.

“One of the first users will be the science community,” he says. “It’s designed to explore the ocean in a new way, mainly spending time under the sea, giving people the opportunity to live under the sea for a very long time, to observe, to undertake research missions, like marine biology, oceanography and climate issues.”

The project has also drawn support from former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin and the European Space Agency as well as other industrial organizations which are expected to help develop the vessel’s systems.

It is no surprise that NASA is involved. The whole design and mission of the vessel makes the SeaOrbiter seem like a maritime version of the USS Enterprise!

+ The SeaOrbiter



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  1. KeysGuy August 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Are there similar Marine Research projects like this that are in the works that need funding and what are they?

  2. gunner221 July 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    How is this thing re-supplied? Where could it dock? Could it survive a hurricane? Just some of the questions I have at this time.

  3. Cam June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Funny, this thing is costing a few million for completely new technology and yet hundreds of millions will be spent on a single plane when our govt. has to go through our defense contractors. Amazing how much they rip off our govt. and since they fund all those Congressional campaigns nobody says a word to them.

  4. Freedem June 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I have played with the concept for years, though this has many parts I had not thought of. With the mass deep under the waves it would be driven by currents, but the rise and fall of enough weight/buoyancy spread out over a flat surface and angled aft could provide tremendous driving power that would need little other assist.

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