FIU opens doors to Aquarius Reef Base

NASA completes first saturation mission under FIU

After months of work to bring Aquarius Reef Base back to life, the world’s only undersea research lab is back in operation. To celebrate the completion of the first saturation mission, FIU is offering an inside peek of Aquarius on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, at 9 a.m. The first mission since FIU took over in January was conducted by NASA to train five astronauts, including an astronaut from the European Space Agency and another from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Headliner Aquarius 1

Aquarius, submerged by NOAA, in 1993, has provided unparalleled access to study coral reefs and marine life and test state-of-the-art undersea technology, train specialized divers and astronauts. Aquarius was in danger of being decommissioned last year. FIU has put in place an aggressive plan to save Aquarius and has reopened it for the use of scientists, government agencies and private industry. Scientists can dive and live aboard Aquarius for days, even weeks at a time.

Journalists at the shore base will be able to interview FIU scientists inside Aquarius, 63 feet under the sea, via a live video feed.

Guest speakers include:
• FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg
Mike Heithaus, Executive Director, FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society
James Fourqurean, Director of Marine Education Research Initiative
Thomas Potts, Director of Aquarius, and other marine science researchers

Parking at the base is very limited. Vehicles, other than live trucks, should park on the gravel just south of Aquarius. The Aquarius Shore Base is located in the Florida Keys, 85932 Overseas Highway (mile marker 86, west side of the road), Islamorada, FL 33036.