Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Friday, December 08, 2006

More Thoughts About Undersea Colonies

In Part II of the discussion on living undersea in human colonies, we continue the discussion on how we will define the terms. This is an excerpt from my coming book, Undersea Colonies, due out in a few months.

A habitat is a fixed structure beneath the ocean that is designated for the occupation by aquanauts who live and work there. It can be fixed to the seafloor or tethered from the seafloor. It has no means of propulsion, or that would make it a submarine whose purpose it is to transport submariners. A true undersea habitat is specifically designed to meet all needs of the human aquanaut from comfort to shelter for long periods of time.

Habitats are not a part of a surface platform or island structure that extends below the waterline. Structures under the water that open up to the surface are not habitats at all, but they are, in fact, submerged platforms, barges or extended, submerged shore side docks. Aquanauts cannot be certified as an aquanaut if they live out of one of these structures. If they were counted as aquanauts, then most crewmembers in engineering spaces on nearly all ships would be “aquanauts”, since their working level is typically beneath the waterline. A true habitat is linked to the surface only by air, power and communication lines, not by elevators or stairwells. A true underwater habitat is truly an underwater dwelling separate and distinct from the surface.

Engineering cofferdams or work spaces created for underwater repairs or welding are also not counted as underwater habitats, since these metal boxes are not designed for long duration general living but for the shortest term possible accomplishment of dry work under water. They are not configured for all aspects of life and living, but are instead designated as crude work spaces that certainly no one would ever want to live in.

These classifications are important in order to distinguish between the true aquanaut – a citizen and resident of the sea as opposed to the always transient submariner or curious surface dweller who descends through a tunnel to peer out some glassed in chamber, but is not at all isolated from the surface, its air, pressure or effects.

An aquanaut is one who lives in a habitat for extended periods of days, weeks, months, years or decades without surfacing. The habitat is a structure whose purpose is much like a land based home. It is specifically designed to indefinitely meet all aspects of life and living beneath the surface of the sea and except for a small cluster of support lines and it is always completely isolated from the surface.

If you may be interested in being sent a notice when the book is released, send me an email and I will out you on the list of readers to be notified when it is ready to ship. This list does not obligate you to buy the book, of course. I anticipate the price to be somewhere around $11.99.