French adventurer Alban Michon to spend six months in underwater Arctic laboratory

Lab will be placed 10m below the ocean surface before ice begins to form in the autumn

Alban Michon believes his work continues the efforts of explorers such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Photo: Andy Parant
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French adventurer Albon Michon is planning a spectacular new mission in the depths of an Arctic ice floe, living in a futuristic laboratory that could become a training ground for astronauts.

Mr Michon, 45, hopes that by spending six months in the lab, where the outside temperatures will be a chilly -1.6ºC, he can offer a new perspective on global warming.

His team wants to “create the unthinkable” and build an undersea lab with state-of-the-art equipment for 2025.

The 24 metre by 2.3m lab and home will be placed 10m below the ocean surface before the ice begins to form in the autumn.

“After six months it will start to melt. What we want to do is spend almost an entire season under the sea, caught under the ice,” Mr Michon said.

“Right at the front of the base, there will be a panoramic view of the sea enabling us to place ourselves in front of something remarkable, or at least something that will be interesting to study, and to live with this environment a bit like a foetus in its mother’s tummy.

“We will be the first people to live in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, in fact.”

Mr Michon sees his work carrying on from sea explorers such as his hero, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

“Thanks to the evolution of new technologies, we are continuing Commander Cousteau’s momentum,” Mr Michon said.

Scientists on the base will live off recycled air, water and energy, in an environment that might in future be suitable as a test centre for astronauts.

Alban Michon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Biodysseus Mission is his most ambitious project to date after dives under the North Pole ice and paddling around Greenland.

He also plans to build a second base on the ice as a kind of safety line so that the people in the lab will have a nearby and constant link to crew above the surface.

The lab will also have a meeting area allowing visits from doctors if there is a health emergency.

Mr Michon was born in north-east France and started deep-sea diving when he was 11. He founded the Evolution 2 ice-diving school in Tignes in the French Alps.

Updated: October 13, 2022, 8:55 AM
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