Manned habitation of the seafloor is a critical component for the future of ocean exploration, advancing science, and for the survival of our species. Early projects in the 1960’s and 1970’s set the stage for early saturation technologies and techniques, however funding ‘dried up’ upon several complications being realized. Here, we have compiled a number of resources noting the history of seafloor habitation, and several groups lobbying to jumpstart a new ‘life in the sea’
A Brief History of Seafloor Habitation
:: Underwater Habitats from Wikipedia
:: History of Sat Diving from the Historical Diving Society
:: Overview of Sealab from the Office of Naval Research
:: Edalhab Project from UNH Museum Online
:: US Subs
A Perspective on the Future
Why do we believe that manned habitation of the seafloor is necessary? Well, there are several complex answers. First is that from a working (scientific, commercial, military) perspective, there will forever be tasks that are more readily achieved using humans than robotics. In some cases, humans working alongside robotics in niche environments will be the necessary tool. Given the amount of effort required to place humans in ever-more challenging undersea environments, it only makes sense to keep them there for awhile. For humans to efficiently work underwater for extended time periods, saturation diving is the vehicle of choice.
Second, as Earth’s population continues to grow almost exponentially, our species will place increasing demands on the ocean…for food, shelter, and security; all fundamental human needs. With the vast majority of living space on this planet being in the ocean, we will eventually have to consider evolution of a seafaring society. In this case, the concept of ‘colonization’ rather than simply ‘habitation’ presents a whole new area to be considered. Perhaps the true ‘Atlantis’ has yet to be realized.