Into Bond Villain Territory

The villains in the James Bond movies of the ’60s and ’70s all had spectacular lairs. Be they extensive island fortresses, undersea citadels, or private space stations, pretty much every Bond bad guy had somehow secretly constructed an elaborate, impossible feat of engineering–one that would inevitably be blown to smithereens by Bond as he miraculously escaped with the female lead at the end of the movie.

I thought about Bond villains when I read about the announcement of plans to build an “underwater space station of the ocean” and saw a depiction of the proposed structure, above. You can almost see an evil guy with an eyepatch bent on world domination surveying his domain from one of those windows, can’t you?

The plans for the underwater space station are actually pretty cool. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Proteus Group, working together in a joint venture, propose to build it near the Caribbean island of Curacao. The habitat, which will be called PROTEUS, will allow scientists and researchers to live underwater for extended periods of time and study the ocean in a way that has never been possible before. The inhabitants will eat plants grown in hydroponic pods–although presumably fish will be part of the diet, too–as they perform their work.

The plans also contemplate that private citizens will be able to spend time at PROTEUS. That sounds like an interesting trip, but if you’re considering it I suggest minding your own business and staying away from any live shark tanks or piranha pools.