National Geographic’s Underwater Space Tent

Underwater explorers face a number of challenges, the biggest being the restriction of tank size and the effects of pressure on the human physiology. These challenges force divers to come up periodically, abbreviating their time underwater. That’s where the National Geographic Underwater Space Tent—or Ocean Space Habitat—makes a difference.

The tent was designed and patented by Michael Lombardi, a National Geographic explorer, and Winslow Burleson, an associate professor at New York University. The tent is a “portable life-support system for divers” and aims to allow divers more time as well as a way to avoid “bends”—a condition that results from surfacing too fast. The tent is essentially a bubble of air where several divers can swim up to the dry chamber for shelter from the cold and from predators. Inside the chamber, they can remove gear, talk, eat, process samples, and even sleep through the decompression process. The tent isn’t just a place to rest, but could also literally be a life saver, allowing divers a safe place to recompress and to communicate with the surface. The tent also allows for conservation of air, allowing more time underwater.

The idea of an underwater dwelling isn’t new, but the mobility aspect is. This tent literally allows divers to get to even more remote locations. It’s camping under the waves.

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