The development of a 328-foot floating laboratory that can be turned on its side in the water


French explorer and ecologist Jean-Louis Etienne has developed a vertical floating laboratory built with the help of the French government, with sensors to collect data from water in the Southern Ocean, called the Polar Pod, which will be transported from South Africa to Antarctic waters horizontally, but It will flip into an upright position to start its operations.

The cabins on the ship, which are filled with water, will maintain the stability of the spindle hull and prevent it from appearing out of the ocean or falling, even in bad weather.

The manned ship was also designed without a motor, and instead would be carried by the oceanic Antarctic Current, the 13,000-mile loop of ocean water that flows around Antarctica.

The lab will be 328 feet (100 meters) taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York, and the Polar Pod will complete a circle around Antarctica twice in three years, using sensors to collect data on ocean carbon uptake and acidity levels, as well as wave dynamics.

Construction of the Polar Pod, which will be funded by the French government, has yet to begin, but Etienne hopes to set sail in late 2023 or 2024. Etienne, 74, was the first man to reach the North Pole alone in 1986.

The Polar Pod will allow for long-term data and observations to be transmitted to researchers, oceanographers, climatologists, and scientists.

This platform, which is 100 meters high and weighs 1,000 tons, is designed to handle the largest waves in the world, and despite its heavy appearance, the Polar Pod is actually more stable and comfortable than conventional ships.

Etienne did not reveal the expected cost of the project but revealed the participation of 43 scientific institutions from 12 countries. A crew of eight will be onboard the Polar Pod, including two iceberg sailors, three researchers, and a cook, but the staff will rotate constantly.

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