Jacques Cousteau's Grandson to Lead 31-Day Underwater Mission
Divers work outside the Aquarius underwater laboratory located off the coast of Florida.
Credit: Mark Hay

It's in the genes! Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, will embark on a month-long research mission on the ocean floor, living and working in an underwater laboratory off the coast of Florida.

Cousteau will be joined by a group of scientists and filmmakers on the 31-day underwater expedition, called Mission 31, which is scheduled to begin on Sept. 30, reported The Associated Press. The team will test new technologies; conduct research on the effects of climate change on corals, sponges and sea life; and study the physiological and psychological impacts of long-term saturation diving and living in prolonged confinement, according to the Mission 31 website.

The researchers will live aboard Aquarius Reef Base, a seafloor habitat and laboratory located roughly 63 feet (20 meters) underwater in the Florida Keys. The facility is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by Florida International University. If successful, Cousteau's Mission 31 will surpass his grandfather's 30-day stint aboard the Continental Shelf Station Two (Conshelf Two) in 1963, which experimented with underwater living in a habitat located 33 feet (10 m) beneath the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan.

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