Longest stay in an underwater habitat [Europe]
Last updated: December 14, 2018 at 6:43 am
36 days | Lacustris Programme (Romania) — Aquanauts Liviu Miron & Constantin Mihai set the European record of 36 consecutive days in July 1994 while living aboard the L.S.-1 Underwater Laboratory in Lake Bicaz. The scientific programme, which focused on habitat operations, scuba diving, as well as human physiology and behaviour, was supervised by Dr. Ionel Miron of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. Upon exiting the L.S.-1, Miron and Mihai were greeted by the Romanian Minister of Youth and Sports (Alexandru Mironov) and media representatives, including Jeffrey Gallant, who had earlier interviewed the aquanauts inside the habitat (watch video below). Launched in 1967, the L.S.-1 is the longest serving underwater habitat still in operation. It was installed on a rail-based mobile platform that was first used to carry lumber up a hillside after the Bistrița Valley was cleared of trees during the construction of the Izvorul Muntelui Dam in the 1950s. The L.S.-1 may thus be lowered or raised at the desired depth to conduct scientific research or to allow aquanauts to undergo decompression while still inside the habitat. Its original purpose was to study fish behaviour in aquaculture at a time when remote viewing with underwater cameras was still logistically challenging, i.e. the aquanauts observed captive fish placed in cages in front of the habitat’s portholes.
The L.S.-1 was visited by two teams of Cousteau divers during a survey of the Danube River in 1991.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau became an honorary member of the Romanian Academy in 1991, and he was bestowed an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) by the University of Bucharest in 1993.
NOTE: Video narration is in French. Click on CC for English subtitles.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.