Fabien Cousteau


Why I'm Going 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Save Our Oceans

A research team will be living and working under the ocean, diving and exploring for 31 day straight.

Have you ever thought about living under the sea? I mean, not just traveling in a submarine (although, that is extremely exciting), but rather living and working under the ocean—where you could dive and explore for up to nine hours per day. Well, that is what my team and I will be doing in November and sharing it with the world. One key goal will be to help people better understand what is taking place "20,000 leagues under the sea."

Not only will our endeavor break new ground in ocean exploration, but it also coincides with the 50th anniversary of a monumental legacy left by my grandfather. Credited with creating the first underwater habitats for humans, he led a team of ocean explorers aboard Conshelf II on the first attempt to live and work underwater for a month. The ambitious 30-day living experiment in the Red Sea succeeded as the first effort in long-term saturation diving, proving it could be done without suffering any ill effects. Mission 31 will expand his efforts by one full day and by going 30 feet deeper. We will also be sharing every second on multiple channels, exposing the world to the adventure, risk, and mystique of what lies beneath.

Mission 31 is my upcoming ocean endeavor to live for 31 days at Aquarius (the only undersea habitat in the world). Owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and managed by Florida International University, Aquarius is located 63 feet under the sea in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (approximately nine miles east of Key Largo). As previous missions have lasted a maximum of 18 days, this will be the first time Aquarius has hosted a mission of this length.

During Mission 31, our research will focus on the effects of weather underwater and climate change as well as pollution on corals and its biodiversity. Sponges will also be examined with scientific advice and mission support from Northeastern University's Initiative in Urban Coastal Sustainability. During the expedition, we will work on our own human physiological and psychological experiments to determine how long humans can live without the sun, the effects of long-term high pressure, and the mental impact of close-quarter living.

Why are we doing this? And why do we need your help?

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