Imagine Living Underwater off the La Jolla Coast for 30 Days

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Sealab II Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Sealab II Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Astronaut Scott Carpenter was the fourth American astronaut in space and the 2nd to orbit the Earth, after John Glenn. He was also the first to live underwater for 30 days as an aquanaut in 1965.

The Navy ran a series of tests to measure the human impact of living underwater for an extended period of time. Known as SEALAB II, Scott Carpenter joined other aquanauts to perform underwater tests and push the limits on human endurance in submersed water habitats.

The SEALAB II habitat was 57 feet long and 12 feet wide. It was sent 205 feet below the ocean surface, just off the La Jolla Coast, into what is known as La Jolla Canyon. Due to the slope of the ocean floor in that location, SEALAB II was referred to as the ‘Tilton Hilton’. The ‘Tilton Hilton’ included a shower and refrigeration for the aquanauts.

Scott Carpenter was the only one to stay down during the full 30 days of the mission. The most fascinating part to me is when Scott Carpenter spoke to a fellow Mercury astronaut, Gordon Cooper, while Cooper was in outer space on the Gemini Space Capsule.

So, the next time you see divers heading into the water off the La Jolla coast, just think what it would be like to live in the depths of the ocean for a month and taking a call from outer space.

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