Aquarius Reef Base (well known as Aquarius) is the last undersea lab dedicated to science. It is located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, adjacent to Conch Reef. Aquarius has served the Marine Biologists as well as space agency NASA for more than 25 years. But now, the world’s last undersea lab is in danger of shutting down. Due to government cuts in funding the world’s last undersea laboratory might shut down for ever.
The world’s last undersea laboratory Aquarius Reef Base is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the University of North Carolina–Wilmington. It is situated 60 feet below the surface, on the bottom of Conch Reef. Aquarius Reef Base was built by the federal government in order to study the endangered coral reefs. Besides, NASA has used the underwater lab to recreate the weightlessness of space. Recently, some astronauts were sent to the underwater lab for a mock asteroid mission training.
But, after serving both marine biologists and the space scientists for 25 years, the Aquarius Reef Base itself is now endangered. The maintenance cost of this lab is about $3 million per year. But the Obama administration is cutting off the funding for the 25-year-old National Undersea Research Program Aquarius Reef Base.
However, an independent foundation is trying to gather money to fulfill the lab’s $3 million annual budget. If $3 million annual budget can not be gathered, it will be forced to shut down for ever. And, that will be the end of the world’s last undersea laboratory.