A new underwater laboratory that can be fully controlled remotely, near Marseille, France and 2.5 km deep Water is being made. The center, called Laboratoire Sous-Marin Provence Méditerranée (LSPM), is the first example of an underwater laboratory in Europe and has many scientific instruments and sensors for oceanography, geology, particle physics and other fields.
LSPM houses state-of-the-art scientific equipment, including the KM3NeT neutrino detector, which consists of 2,070 spheres and is located on the ocean floor. The lab also has EMSO environmental sensors that are used to monitor ocean health.
According to LSPM, this underwater laboratory will have the following infrastructure:
- Electro-optical cables for shore connection
- Junction boxes for connecting underwater equipment
- Basic audio positioning system
- A junction box dedicated to environmental actions
Pascal Cowell, director of research at the Marseille Center for Particle Physics and director of the LSPM, told Ars Technica:
“The lab’s giant detector arrays can detect neutrinos emitted from the Southern Hemisphere sky. In rare cases, neutrinos interact with water molecules, producing a bluish glow in the dark ocean. Detecting this light will help us measure the direction and energy of the neutrinos.”
Underwater laboratory robot
This underwater laboratory will also have an underwater robot named “BathyBot”. This robot has advanced sensors that can measure various ocean parameters such as temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide concentration, current speed and direction, salinity and particle concentration. Like other LPSM tools, this robot is also remotely controlled. Another noteworthy point is that the robot can climb a 2 meter high rock.
Among other tools of this research base, we can mention a gamma ray spectrometer to monitor radioactivity levels and a stereo single photon camera to measure the bioluminescence of deep sea creatures.
Because the deep sea is still poorly explored, LSPM’s underwater laboratory can increase our understanding of various phenomena, Coyle said. Currently, some equipments of this laboratory are active, but in the coming summer, this laboratory will be fully operational.