Aquanaut Fabien Cousteau Surfaces After Spending 31 Days Underwater

Ocean explorer and filmmaker Fabien Cousteau peers out from Aquarius during Mission 31.

Thirty-one days after his initial descent and 50 years after his famed grandfather's original deep-sea mission, Fabien Cousteau is back on dry land.
The 46-year-old ocean explorer and documentary filmmaker finished his stint in an underwater lab 63 feet deep off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, on Wednesday, rising to the surface after a brief layover in a decompression unit. The project, called Mission 31, provided a platform to study oceanic pollution and climate change and their impact on wildlife, as well as to conduct scientific experiments on coral reef.

Cousteau lived and worked in the underwater lab, known as Aquarius, for 31 days on end, the longest period of time spent at that depth in that specific lab. Aquarius is operated by Florida International University in Miami and typically does only 10-day missions. Scientists and researchers from FIU did two-week shifts with Cousteau throughout the month-long period.
Aquarius underwater with scuba diver

"The overarching theme for Mission 31 is the human-ocean connection within the lens of exploration and discovery," Cousteau said in a statement. "Mission 31 pays homage to my grandfather’s work and all aquanauts who have since followed his lead in the name of ocean exploration."
Cousteau's grandfather was Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the famous ocean explorer and creator of the 1964 Academy Award-winning documentary World Without Sun. The film chronicled six aquanauts' attempt to live in a structure 98 feet beneath the surface of the Red Sea for 30 days. The structure featured in the documentary, Continental Shelf Station II, was the first sub-aqueous habitat to allow humans to live on the ocean floor. Its predecessor, Conshelf I, only enabled scientists to hover about 33 feet beneath the surface.
Unlike his grandfather's mission, Fabien Cousteau's trip to the bottom of the sea featured daily Skype interviews with interested schools around the world, as well as recording videos and snapping photos on a Nokia Lumia 1020 from inside Aquarius, which is equipped with Wi-Fi.
Users with Livestream accounts can look at both the starboard and port sides of Aquarius.
Cousteau is known for his 2006 documentaries Shark: Mind Of a Demon and Ocean Adventures, both of which concentrate on endangered and misunderstood ocean creatures.

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