A university professor has broken a world record after living underwater without depressurisation for 74 days.
But Joseph Dituri isn’t surfacing just yet, as he’s aiming to make it to triple figures.
Prof Dituri has been living in Jules’ Undersea Lodge, which lies at the bottom of a 30ft-deep lagoon in Key Largo, Florida in the US.
On his 74th day he ate a protein-heavy meal of eggs and salmon prepared using a microwave, exercised with resistance bands, did his daily push-ups and took an hour-long nap. A routine very similar to his previous 73 days.
Unlike a submarine, the lodge does not use technology to adjust for the increased underwater pressure.
The previous record of 73 days, two hours and 34 minutes was set by two Tennessee professors – Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain – at the same location in 2014.
Prof Dituri’s mission, which has been dubbed Project Neptune 100, is set to end on June 9 after he spends 100 days underwater.
It combines medical and ocean research along with educational outreach and was organised by the Marine Resources Development Foundation, owner of the habitat.
‘The record is a small bump and I really appreciate it,’ said Prof Dituri, a University of South Florida educator who holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering and is a former US naval officer.
‘I’m honoured to have it, but we still have more science to do.’
His research includes daily experiments in physiology to monitor how the human body responds to long-term exposure to extreme pressure.
‘The idea here is to populate the world’s oceans, to take care of them by living in them and really treating them well,’ said Prof Dituri, who also goes by the name Dr Deep Sea.
The outreach portion of Prof Dituri’s project includes running online classes and broadcast interviews from his digital studio in the underwater lodge.
During the past 74 days, he has reached more than 2,500 students through online classes in marine science and more with his regular biomedical engineering courses at the University of South Florida.
While he says he loves living under the ocean, there is one thing he really misses.
‘The thing that I miss the most about being on the surface is literally the sun,’ Prof Dituri said.
‘The sun has been a major factor in my life – I usually go to the gym at five and then I come back out and watch the sunrise.’
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