Florida Scientist Breaks Record for Time Spent Underwater

US Navy veteran Joe Dituri, an associate professor at the University of South Florida self-styled "Dr. Deep Sea," announced on Sunday that he has broken the record for the longest time lived underwater.

Florida Scientist Breaks Record for Time Spent Underwater
Image credit: Florida Keys News Bureau [via AP]

Facts

  • US Navy veteran Joe Dituri, an associate professor at the University of South Florida self-styled "Dr. Deep Sea," announced on Sunday that he has broken the record for the longest time lived underwater after spending more than 73 days in Jules' Undersea Lodge — 30 feet below the surface of a lagoon in Key Largo, Florida.1
  • He plans to stay at the lodge until June 9, when he reaches 100 days underwater without depressurization and completes the medical and ocean research dubbed "Project Neptune 100," which was organized by the Marine Resources Development Foundation.2
  • The previous record of 73 days, 2 hours, and 34 minutes was set at the same location in 2014 by Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, two Tennessee professors.3
  • The 55-year-old Florida scientist, whose journey began on March 1, is studying how the human body reacts to long-term exposure to extreme pressure. Researchers have run several medical tests on him.4
  • Dituri's hypothesis is that his health will improve due to the extreme pressure — increasing his longevity and preventing aging diseases as he found in a study that cells exposed to more pressure doubled within five days.5
  • He hopes that this research will reveal that hyperbaric pressure can be used to increase cerebral blood flow and help people with traumatic brain injuries and other diseases, while also helping to prepare astronauts for the 200-day travel to Mars in a similar environment.6

Sources: 1CNN, 2Associated Press, 3Daily Mail, 4BBC News, 5New York Post, and 6USF.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Gizmodo. The undersea world is another alien environment that humans should be considering exploring as mankind seeks to colonize outer space. These habitats require similar engineering technologies to become sustainably manageable. The sea marks a penultimate Final Frontier.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Popular Science. While research about long underwater living remains limited, known side effects include paleness and reduced vitamin D production from lack of exposure to the sun, and damage to circulation systems. A long underwater excursion could possibly show that there are strong negative impacts on human health.

Predictions