Previously sidelined dive set for submergence

Fabien Cousteau outside the Aquarius.
Fabien Cousteau outside the Aquarius.

“We will live as fish.”

That’s how filmmaker, explorer, and grandson of pioneering oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Fabien Cousteau described his 2014 mission to submerge underwater for 31 straight days this coming spring.

“We will live in an underwater habitat called Aquarius,” Cousteau told The hope of this mission – called Mission 31 – is to give scientists “a glimpse of what happens underwater at all times.”

Fabien Cousteau.

Seeing as the ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planets water, it’s no exaggeration when Cousteau says “the ocean connects us all in fundamental ways…We have explored less than 5% of the ocean to date so we don’t know anything about the ocean.”

But this exploration under the sea is more than an aquatic and scientific undertaking: it was also a casualty of October’s government shutdown. Mission 31 was originally scheduled to begin in November but due to the 16 day government shutdown Cousteau was forced to postpone the exploration until the spring. “The habitat is owned by the government and the water within the residents is protected by the government, so anything we do in or out of the habitat needs permits,” Cousteau said.  “When the government shutdown happened everything got held up so we had to give a go, no go with enough time to prepare.” The team was worried about the government shutdown continuing so they gave a “no go” order in October postponing the mission until the next open window in April or May.

When Mission 31 does finally launch they are planning on documenting their findings through a continuous live video stream which they hope to turn into a documentary. “My idea is to rekindle the magic that my grandpa and other pioneers had,” Cousteau said.  “Adventure and exploration should not only look up but look down too.”