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The age of Aquarius.

The age of Aquarius

The world's most advanced underwater habitat was christened "Aquarius' last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Situated in the Caribbean near St. Croix, the 43-foot-long, movable home-away-from-home will enable scientists to live and work on the ocean floor for indefinite periods. For the next two years, it will be at its present site on the Salt Water Canyon seafloor, 50 feet below sea level. There, researchers plan to study physical oceanography, marine engineering problems, the habits of local fish and the cause of coral bleaching in the Caribbean. Without the undersea habitat to return to each day, scuba divers working on such projects would be limited to seafloor visits lasting only 70 minutes, according to NOAA.

The $5.5 million Aquarius replaces NOAA's smaller, less sophisticated Hydro-lab, which hosted nearly 200 missions before it was retired in 1985. Aquarius, which will get its power and air via an umbilical system connected to a surface support boat, has a sleeping area, showers, laboratory equipment and a galley.
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Title Annotation:new undersea habitat named Aquarius
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 19, 1987
Words:173
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