Explorer above and below waves

SeaOrbiter is set up for explorers to focus on birds and climate or the depths.
SeaOrbiter is set up for explorers to focus on birds and climate or the depths.

The final portion of $57 million has been raised to build oceanographer Jacques Rougerie's gigantic, solar-powered, floating aquatic observation vessel SeaOrbiter.

The money, raised through crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank, will build a 58m-tall vessel to scour the seas non-stop for new life and sunken civilisations.

It will be the world's first non-stop exploration vessel, complete with submarine drones, underwater living quarters and space training simulator.

Rougerie has been designing the SeaOrbiter for over a decade.

With 30m of the 58m ship under the water's surface, the SeaOrbiter will give a different perspective to marine research.

Missions have been mapped out when it sets sail to get an in-depth look at seabeds, search for lost civilisations, new deep sea creatures and life forms.

It's estimated there are millions more species not yet recorded or observed in the oceans.

The research vessel will be built from Sealium - a recyclable aluminium designed for marine environments - and powered through a solar skin that will let it sail in silence.

On board there's a hive of high-tech devices from which large numbers of subsea exploration devices leave daily to gather data and return at the end of each trip.

There is room for 22 permanent inhabitants on 10 accommodation levels - four above the water for sea bird and surface observation and six decks below the water.

- Herald on Sunday

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