Have you ever fantasised about living in an underwater city? Well, Project Atlantica may soon give you a chance to do just that.
Project Atlantica is the first project that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the sea bed. This will not be a permanent habitat for scientists and aquanauts/divers to visit and stay a few days, but for the first time in history will be a settlement in which families live permanently, in which children are born and go to school, and in which people can live and work, perhaps without ever seeing land!
The first stage of Project Atlantica begins on May 1st, 2009. In this stage the first module - the Leviathan Habitat - will be submerged with two aquanauts (Dennis Chamberland and Terrence Tysall) aboard. They will live in the module for 80 days (breaking the world record for the longest continuous stay underwater) and will be visited by scientists, journalists and other divers during their stay.
The second stage begins in 2012 and in this stage the largest underwater habitat ever built - the Challenger Habitat - will be submerged and fixed in position off the coast of Florida, and the first permanent residents will move in. Later stages will see the colony grow and expand.
This project promises to be an exciting social experiment, and could expand the opportunities for human settlement on Earth. My only hope is that after trashing the land, we won't then trash the oceans. The project's designers say the habitat will also be used as an educational tool to understand, monitor, and protect the marine environment, but there is a danger future colonies might not be so sensitive to environmental impacts.
Perhaps we need to think about global laws on the use of the seabed?
I also wonder whether I'd actually like to live permanently in a world where I never saw a sunset or sunrise, and never felt the wind on my face?
http://underseacolony.com/demo/ (This site becomes fully operational in May 2007.)