After 12 years in development, the Seaorbiter is finally becoming a reality. With construction slated to begin in October, the futuristic marine vessel, designed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, could be exploring the seas as soon as next year.
Sustainability principles thread through the entire Seaorbiter design, which is projected to cost $43 million. The vessel is designed to drift with ocean currents, and will generate the majority of its power from renewable energy, including solar, wind and wave power. A side project is underway in conjunction with EADS, the European defense and space systems conglomerate, to develop a biofuel as the ship's main power source.
"One of the first users will be the science community," said Seaorbiter's media and education director Ariel Fuchs. "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."