Sixty feet. It doesn’t sound like much. But under the weight of water, that short distance is enough to triple the pressure of our normal atmosphere. It’s about as far below the surface as humans can live, a strange, isolated place where voice pitch goes up, cuts heal faster, rashes spread with abandon, and batteries deplete more quickly. Which is why Fabien Cousteau, ocean researcher and grandson of Jaques Cousteau, likens the challenge of building an underwater lab to crafting the International Space Station (ISS).
And that’s just what he wants to build. An underwater ISS. Called Proteus, Cousteau has been fundraising an unprecedented lab, where researchers can come from across the globe to study the ocean for weeks or months at a time. The price tag? $135 million.