100 days on the bottom of the sea: it's "Project Neptune"

Joseph Dituri is a scientist who will stay over three months in the water to study the marine ecosystem and more (breaking a record)

sea: Joseph Dituri in the bottom of the sea
Joseph Dituri at the bottom of the sea (Photo: Project Neptune)

100 days on the bottom of the sea to protect it and break a record. This is the enterprise of Joseph Dituri, a scholar of University of South Florida of Tampa, in the USA, and protagonist of the “Project Neptune”, a research project that will be fundamental for water and for man.

In fact, on March 1, 2023 Dituri was nestled in Key Largo, in Florida, and since then the researcher has lived inside the Jules' Undersea Lodge, an accommodation that is 9 meters deep. The purpose of the mission? Once again, encourage research and prevention to protect theMarine ecosystem.

Another important element is added to this noble cause: the study of the effects of permanence in a hyperbaric environment on the human being, from a psychological and physical point of view. If Joseph succeeds in his feat by leaving his "underwater home" at the beginning of June, he will not only have made a great contribution to science, but will also have managed to break a record.

That of the longest submarine stay ever in a high pressure habitat, breaking the record obtained in 2014 with 73 days.

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sea: The researcher Joseph Dituri in video call
Researcher Joseph Dituri on video call (Photo: Project Neptune)

A revolutionary search for the sea

Living underwater is undoubtedly a fascinating challenge, even more if we think of a period as long as 100 days. In all these weeks the house of Joseph Dituri it will be a cockpit with the shape of an overturned glass and anchored to the seabed of the size of 30 square meters.

The air inside undergoes the pressure of the waters of theOcean environment. A pressure which, it should be underlined, is equal to double that of the mainland. An extreme experience is therefore very different from that of someone who has stayed in a submarine. In fact, these vessels have been designed precisely to maintain the same pressure present at sea level despite being able to dive hundreds of meters deep into the ocean.

Dituri's mission will end on June 9. Throughout his stay at a depth of 9 metres, the American scholar will continue to conduct experiments and research on themarine habitat. He will also hold his lectures, connecting online with students and talking about his activities. In the meantime, your health will be constantly monitored. In fact, there are no particular precedents and it is not known how Joseph's body could react to the conditions to which he will be subjected. A medical team will evaluate the researcher's mental and physical health, reporting any anomaly or alteration.

Certainly the expert left prepared for this mission which will not be easy at all. At a depth of 9 metres, the first risk is that all the balances associated with the sleep-wake cycle could jump due to the (almost) absence of sunlight.

The poor sun exposure it could also cause a vitamin D deficiency with possible damage to the immune system, bones and muscles. Not to mention the impossibility of carrying out physical activity, given the limited space.

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sea: Joseph Dituri of Project Neptune
Project Neptune's Joseph Dituri (Photo: Project Neptune)

The real advantages of underwater research

Despite the dangers, however, Dituri is convinced that his research will be useful both forMarine ecosystem than for men. “My passion for science was born while I was serving in the Navy where I was a critical diving officer”Joseph explained. “After my discharge, I did my PhD, trying to find out more about the correlation between pressure and extreme conditions with traumatic brain injury.

Secondo Joseph Dituri in fact the hyperbaric pressure it could be very useful to increase cerebral blood flow and intervene to treat some brain injuries. “I hypothesized that this type of pressure could, therefore, be used to treat these injuries. If at the end of these 100 days you should find out that you are right, hyperbaric medicine could be used to treat a wide range of diseases”.

A study dedicated to man therefore, to study not only new therapies for brain injuries, but also the impact of such a long stay in the water. The results will allow for an in-depth study of a very important topic, that of aquatics and the link between man and the sea.

An essential topic for everyone, from scholars to practitioners Spearfishing and finds himself living freediving experiences in waters all over the world, in contact with a habitat and conditions very different from those of the mainland.

Finally, the research will make it possible to shed new light on the need to defend the marine ecosystem, increasingly threatened by human action and characterized by a very delicate balance, which must be known and respected.

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The presentation of "Project Neptune" with the researcher Joseph Dituri

sea: Joseph Dituri
Joseph Dituri (Photo: Project Neptune)