The Medina Aquarius Program is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide. As part of the FIU Marine Education and Research Initiative, the Program is enhancing the scope and impact of FIU on research, educational outreach, technology development, and professional training. At the heart of the program is the one-of-a-kind Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory.
Deployed 60 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarius is a globally significant asset that provides unparalleled means to study the ocean, test and develop state-of-the-art undersea technology, train specialized divers and astronauts, and engage the world's imagination. At Aquarius, scientists are at the cutting edge of research on coral reefs, ocean acidification, climate change, fisheries and the overall health of the oceans.
Since its deployment in 1993, aquanauts and their support teams have used Aquarius to answer critical challenges facing scientists and policy makers. Universities, government agencies and private industry have conducted more than 120 missions to discover, preserve, train and innovate. More than 600 scientific research papers have been published based on Aquarius science.
Aquarius is a complex diving system that consists of the lab below the ocean; a life support buoy on the surface that houses power generators, air compressors and data connections; and a mission control center in Islamorada, Florida. Using a technique known as saturation diving, Aquarius residents can spend days to weeks under water conducting research that cannot be accomplished anywhere else on the planet. Aquanauts diving from Aquarius can spend nine hours per day to depths of 95 feet with a reduced risk of decompression sickness, making Aquarius safe, efficient and cost-effective.
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