Major Tim Peake is backing plans for a £150 million project which would see the world's deepest and largest indoor swimming pool being built in Cornwall, in part to help train fellow astronauts.
Dubbed The Blue Abyss, the stepped pool would measure 50m by 40m and feature a 50m shaft, rendering it the size equivalent of 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools (or 168 million cups of tea).
If that sounds a bit overwhelming for a dip, don't worry - the pool wouldn't be available to the general public. It could be used instead to recreate extreme environments in a controlled setting for a huge range of scientific research and creative endeavours.
Simulated sections of the International Space Station, underwater film sets and fake cave systems could all be lowered into the water to make movies, trial new subsea robotics or train deep sea divers.
British architect Robin Partington, famous for leading the design team for The Gherkin, is behind the incredible new designs for the pool.
Blue Abyss is the brainchild of ex-forces diving instructor and management consultant John Vickers. The privately-funded company has put forward plans to build a 10-acre aquatic centre to house the pool at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone, next to Cornwall Airport near Newquay.
The site would also feature an astronaut training centre, a human performance centre, hypobaric (high altitude) and hyperbaric (pressurised) chambers and much more.
The hope is that the research hub could create 160 jobs and ultimately generate £8m annually for the local economy, as well as offering opportunities for children and students to come and learn about science and technology in an exciting environment.
"We’re planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses," said Vickers.
"Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defence, leisure and marine industries, and a fantastic education centre for children and university students.”
The Blue Abyss already has a fan in British astronaut Major Tim Peake, a former International Space Station crew member.
"This project will join Goonhilly Earth Station and Spaceport Cornwall as significant national assets," he said, "helping to widen our knowledge of how humans and technology can function in extreme environments for the benefit of people and the planet.”
Cornwall, it's time to take the plunge...
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