Innovators: Aerospace & Technology
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In 2009 — pending some big ifs — Dennis Chamberland and two other aquanauts will move into an undersea habitat off the Florida coast to set the world record for days living under water.
Dennis Chamberland [Photo: Gregg Matthews]
The Oklahoma native’s interest in the sea dates to watching “Sea Hunt” as a kid. He worked on an underwater living project while at Oklahoma State in 1972. He was a life scientist with NASA and designed NASA’s Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station undersea habitat, where NASA studied how lessons learned undersea could apply to space.
Construction on the New World Explorer Habitat is set to begin this month and is scheduled for deployment in the spring. The two-man habitat will serve as a secondary habitat for the Atlantica I mission.
For the 2009 Atlantica I mission, Chamberland, his wife, Claudia, and diving operations chief Terrence Tysall will try to stay below the surface for 80 days to break the 69-day record set at the Jules Undersea Lodge in the Keys. Seven people have committed as colonists for Atlantica II, he says. The habitat will be no deeper than 150 feet.
Chamberland has dreams but no illusions about the difficulty of his quest. But, he says, “I think this really has a good chance of success.”
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