What if Jules Verne had found his rightful successor?
His name is Jacques Rougerie, and he is a 64-year-old architect and he will construct the first vertical ship. This giant seahorse, called The Sea Orbiter will serve as an exploratory vessel that drifts with oceanic currents. His project was thought up in collaboration with Jacques Piccard, the man who scaled the most profound depth under the sea, and it allows simultaneous under and above water monitoring. 51 meters high and 10 meters long, the vessel can house 18 passengers, 8 of whom would sleep in a pressurized environment, much like astronauts in their capsules. The ship will be equipped with cameras and robots that can descend to 600 meters below sea. Work on the Sea Orbiter will begin in the second quarter of 2010. The Sea Orbiter’s first mission will begin in 2012, when it will be cast adrift in the Gulf Stream. President Sarkozy is committed to “devote the necessary means” to this vessel. The dream of Jacques Rougerie, great admirer of Jacques Cousteau, will soon become a reality.