SUMMARY: Using Fuller’s Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science (CADS) approach, our solution is to launch the first permanently manned scientific undersea colony in the oceans in a two phase plan. Our international team will learn from the experience, process our system data and then translate it into a global system of interconnected, permanently occupied undersea monitoring stations. The resulting enterprise will ultimately become a global protective system with an inherent synergy far greater than the sum of its parts. In our process-managed enterprise, we will be calling upon the concepts patented in Fuller’s Submarisle undersea colony model, leveraged into 21st century technology, based on lessons learned from our previous undersea experiments and the past history of undersea technology. We will utilize Fuller’s foundational idea as our design trimtab to teach the replicable methods that will allow our crew to develop the artifacts to continuously and comprehensively diagnose our vast planetary ocean’s health by using the intelligent eyes of scientists and engineers wielding the most advanced scientific tools available on earth.
PROBLEM SPACE: Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion World Map demonstrates that we reside on a single island of land in one large planetary ocean; a sole, fragile living system on a tiny planet he called Spaceship Earth. Yet, while man is a vocal enthusiast for protecting the ecology of the continents, he has largely confined his fervor to the tiny enclaves of the two dimensional land area of the earth – literally a small island lying atop a vast three dimensional sea. The ocean, some 321 million cubic miles in volume, lies silent, systematically poisoned and mined of its living quintessence, with neither an organized plan for monitoring it nor the passion that protects the land. This is so because there is no one there to champion and protect it; no intelligent eyes present to see and methodically record its story and relay it to the world. The ocean comprises the most essential ecosystem on our planet and yet it is irresponsibly being used as a global dumping site.
It is incomprehensible that we, as stewards of our planet, are not living in the oceans, permanently monitoring, evaluating and protecting this most essential of all biomes. Allowing the health of this environment to be monitored by fundamentally random analysis assigned to disconnected surveys is astonishingly irresponsible. Any failure of this complex biome would make anthropogenic global warming pale in comparison. Yet, while our atmospheric data sets are global and intricately all-inclusive, our data from the oceans is dreadfully incomplete and dangerously unreliable. While we have an understanding of the tragic cycle of species extinctions on land, we have no such system of understanding in the critical aquatic biome that has a much wider species diversity of many more organisms.
SOLUTION: "The permanent colony will be situated off the Florida coast in the Gulf Stream in 2012. Fixed to the ocean floor, it will be able to monitor the whole of the northern hemisphere’s oceanic gyre as it rotates overhead; some 35,000 miles of ocean passing our station each year. This ecologically responsible approach enables a fixed monitoring station to continuously examine not only ocean chemistry, but embedded ocean life, as the ocean literally orbits over the colony. Our endeavor will enable us to begin unraveling centuries of human abuse of the living ocean of our Spaceship Earth.
Beyond our primary goal of providing humankind with the first model of a permanent ecological monitoring station, our second goal is to fulfill Fuller’s objective of integrating mankind with the living earth in a responsible manner. Through the synergistic blend of intelligent architecture and engineering married to cultural philosophy, this integration is accomplished through radically creative undersea architectural form fused seamlessly with function.
We intend to establish a community that teaches zero waste for the first time in human history. Native American Expeditions Leader Dennis Chamberland, while working as a NASA scientist developing advanced life support systems, originated the philosophy of Resource Recovery to replace waste processing. In this concept there are no wastes, only resources that the community must recycle and reuse.
Our habitats and missions are being engineered from the outset to maximize self-sufficiency and sustainability. None of the critical ingredients for survival—air, fresh water, food, climate, etc—can be taken for granted in an undersea colony. While each are critical environment concerns for land-based populations, we must achieve long-term sustainable solutions to these problems as a baseline for success.
Phase I of the expeditions in 2009 will consist of the deployment of two undersea habitats and requisite surface support systems to establish the world’s record for uninterrupted undersea study (80 days) and rotate crewmembers though our habitats. The New Worlds Explorer (NWE) and Leviathan habitats will leverage existing technologies which our team successfully used in two seasons of undersea habitation in 1997-98. Our NWE habitat has been specifically engineered to be easily deployed and recovered from any municipal boat ramp using designs that can be replicated inexpensively for broad scale use. We will also rigorously test and verify (according to established government and industry standards) the comprehensive engineering and technologies to be used in the Phase II establishment of an undersea colony based upon ecologically sustainable life support systems.
This process will prepare the artifacts which will allow us to launch Phase II, the Challenger Station, as the first permanent undersea monitoring outpost and human colony. Challenger Station will utilize the advanced systems introduced in our Leviathan habitat and will be replicable in numerous global locations. We have aquanauts from six nations working together in a strategic international partnership with the goal to projectively track critical trends and needs in our ocean and identify and assess the long term consequences of man’s presence and impact there. Through our efforts we will develop the scientific, technological and engineering patterns to duplicate these systems all over the world.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge will enable the first phase of the expeditions in 2009. The purposeful design of Phase I (Atlantica I Expeditions) is to use a trimtab approach to funding Phase II. We will utilize the Atlantica I mission to focus international attention on the plight of our ocean planet and create the synergistic momentum to launch the ecologically responsible, anticipatory and achievable ocean colony in Phase II. Our economic paradigm is designed specifically to bring government, academia, venture capital investor and private support to the table to finance both expeditions. Many of the technical solutions we are analyzing, testing and perfecting in the areas of biological monitoring, renewable ocean power generation, water purification and waste/resource recovery will have significant economic value and potential return to investors. Once the permanent scientific colony is launched, we will also integrate other economic pathways, such as filmmaking/documentary production as well as some level of undersea educational/tourism endeavors, to support the colony.
We have marshaled an experienced, record-holding and accomplished international team of aquanauts, astronauts, scientists and educators that has substantial habit planning, development, construction and operational experience. Our current 37 volunteer crewmembers include 20 aquanauts, 2 astronauts, 8 professional educators, 7 scientists and 6 engineers. We have already invested over two years in undersea habitation that resulted in the first agricultural crop ever to be planted and harvested in an undersea habitat.
We have also begun to establish an international educational program that will interface with classrooms across the planet. We are currently gathering teachers and classes to become a part of this experience that will open the eyes of thousands of children to our advanced community and the undersea world, generating their comprehensive, three dimensional, personal sense of belonging. From this unique classroom vantage point we will teach the next generation careful stewardship and the ecologically responsible concepts of a zero waste ethos society that is fully capable of not just correcting, not just cleaning, but – for the first time in human culture – leaving the environment better than when we arrived.
Our Proposal Is:
Comprehensive — in viewing the ocean as a single holistic ecosystem; and in its engineering of a self-sufficient life support system for undersea habitation.
Anticipatory — in recognition of a need for ongoing assessment of human impact in the ocean environment; and addressing needs for greater sustainability.
Ecologically Responsible — in its overall goals for ocean awareness and assessment; in its development and championing of zero waste systems through a philosophy of resource recovery; and in a strict focus on self-sufficiency and sustainability in the design of communities.
Verifiable — strict adherence to rigorous testing and safety practices assures that the systems and procedures being implemented in our project leverage detailed analysis of prior habitat efforts to engineer the systems required to succeed.
Replicable — our habitat systems have been designed for replication on a broad global scale, while the requisite ecologically sustainable systems will find broad application in any human impacted environment.
Achievable — we have the most experienced team every assembled for an undersea mission with demonstrated capacity to implement each component of our effort as an extension of prior efforts.
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