U.S.-based Aquanaut Fabien Cousteau, who is the grandson of the world-renowned marine conservation pioneer Jacques Cousteau, will be constructing a cutting-edge research facility 60 feet below the ocean surface off the coast of Curaçao. This facility, called Proteus, will also serve as an underwater habitat where scientists and researchers can live for months at a time. And at 4000 square feet, it is one of the largest underwater habitats ever built. This enormous size will give it room to house a laboratory, a medical bay, a video production studio, living accommodations, bed chambers, and even a greenhouse to cultivate fresh food for the people living there. Construction will take three years to complete, with a price tag of $135 million, and the facility’s strategic partners include Northeastern University and Rutgers University in the U.S., and Curaçao’s very own Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity. Proteus is also expected to be of particular interest for the stimulation of pharmaceutical research and drug discovery. Since 1969, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has namely approved 12 drugs, among them those with elements that treat cancer, that are derived from ocean organisms. And there are over 20 more of them in clinical development at the moment.
The video production facility is also noteworthy as it will be used to send out TV specials of underwater explorations in the area in 16K resolution. These kinds of marine exploration TV specials were pioneered by Jacques Cousteau and moved countless viewers to become marine explorers themselves. This will thus be a great calling card for Curaçao’s international image!