Fabien Cousteau Is Setting Out to Break His Grandfather’s 50-Year-Old Record by Staying Underwater for Over a Month

by Owen James Burke

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In 1963, Jacques Cousteau set out on “Continental Shelf Station Two Mission,” in which he spent 30 days in an undersea habitat and documented in his Academy Award-winning film, “World Without Sun.” Now, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of his grandfather’s achievement, his grandson Fabien is going to try to break that record, by one day.

Fabien Cousteau and team, dubbed “Mission 31,” were due to begin their mission on Sunday, a few miles off Key Largo, Florida in the Aquarius Reef Base, a school bus-sized laboratory 60 feet beneath the sea that Brian was fortunate enough to visit with both Cousteau and Dr. Sylvia Earle a couple of years ago. Here’s a video clip of what it’s like to dive down and enter the lab:

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Cousteau will also document the experiment on film, while leading a team of five on various experiments on the nearby reef. Quarters will be tight for Cousteau and his team in the 6-bunk, 400-square-foot pressurized chamber, and dining conditions, will be less than ideal: “Unfortunately for me as a French person,” Cousteau told the New York Times, “the food also will be simulated. Freeze-dried, astronaut type of food, canned foods, things like that.”

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