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Friday, April 1, 2016

A New Adventure...Nuevo Atlantis

I have an exciting announcement to make.  It's one that I've kept quiet for a long time until everything was finalized and set in stone.  But it's a pretty life-changing one and I'm glad to be able to share it with the world here (my family has already been informed).

I'm going to be a colonist.  An undersea colonist.

A few years ago an amazing project was announced, Nuevo Atlantis.  This is a new, international expedition into settling the sea floor in order to help with land-based overpopulation and to make farming and resource mining easier.  The ocean is a biome rich in minerals and biological resources, ripe for colonization.  And yes, it's actually become technologically possible.

Articles have been written on this issue over the last few years, and it's pretty exciting (here's one from the BBC, and one from Discover Magazine).  Heck, this has been a dream in science-fiction for a long, long time!  Now the time has come to make this dream a reality.

Nuevo Atlantis is being spearheaded by Dr. Gabe Farraige, a very smart man with PhDs in both engineering and oceanography.  He has gathered a team of 20 experts, including biologists, astrophysicists (there are a lot of similarities between survival in space and underwater), psycologists, and others.  I had a chance to meet him last year and he blew me away with his charisma and intelligence.  I couldn't help but want to join the project.

Why me?  Why a veterinarian?  

Personally I've always been fascinated by ocean animals and their modifications for living in that environment.  That's strange because I actually don't like the beach and would rather be in the mountains.  But animals such as sharks, whales, octopuses, and even starfish have always interested me.  I briefly toyed around with an education in oceanology, but decided against it.  I've wondered if I made a mistake, though I'm generally happy with my career choice.  Now is a chance to rectify that.

A veterinarian actually makes a lot of sense!  We are trained scientists and have special knowledge of animal biology.  Did you know that there have actually been veterinarian astronauts?  Both Dr. Richard Linnehan and  Dr. Alex Dunlap have been part of NASA (Dr. Dunlap is the Chief Veterinarian) and have been on shuttle missions.  Besides being a scientist on an underwater expedition, Dr. Farraige is bringing families into the colony to make it as livable as possible.  And that means family pets!  Somebody is going to need to take care of those pets, and that somebody is me.

And above all, I am a huge fan of the superhero Aquaman, so how could I pass this up?

Nuevo Atlantis is currently being constructed of the western coast of northern Africa.  A recent topographic study shows  some of the early traces of the project.

Here are some concept pictures, showing what the colony will eventually look like.

Here is an early photo of workers laying the framework.

Part of the colony has already been built.  Here are some pictures of those already starting to live there.

Doesn't that look incredibly cool???  Can you see why I'm excited to be moving???  My wife and children are also pretty wound up, though my son is nervous about having hundreds of feet of water pushing down on us.  I think he'll adjust.

Nuevo Atlantis is projected to be completed in late 2017.  By then there will be schools, businesses, living quarters, restaurants, and everything needed for a sustainable life underwater.  I will be moving in early 2017, likely March.  Before that I will be going through more education and training, learning the risks and techniques of living in a hostile environment.

Nuevo Atlantis is still accepting applications, though the remaining spaces are very limited.  If you want to apply, or simply to learn about this amazing project, click on this link.

As time gets closer I'll give more updates.  And once we move I will keep up this blog, as I'm sure everyone would want.