Interstellar, director Christopher Nolan’s latest release is raking in box office receiptsbecause it speaks to a seemingly eternal question: what if humanity could take to the stars? Though outer space holds a certain shiny allure, Earth’s oceans are just as full of possibility. Japanese construction company Shimizu wants to explore the blue unknown and build a housing complex there. It’s drawn up the “Ocean Spiral” project (hat-tip to IT Media).
The company readily acknowledges the ambitious scope of the project. By its calculations, the necessary technology will not be developed until 2030, at which point five years and JPY 3 trillion (US$25 billion) will be required to complete construction.
A fair bit of brain power is going into the development of the technology needed for Ocean Spiral. Project advisors include individuals from Tokyo University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and alternative energy firms like Showa Denko. Together, they have devised a system that places a 500 meter-wide spherical entrance (the Ocean Spiral’s Blue Garden) and living structure near the surface with a snaking path (the Infra Spiral) three to four kilometres down to the ocean floor where an “earth factory” will act as the base.
The earth factory will harness materials on the sea bed for recycling carbon dioxide and other purposes to be defined later. Between the Ocean Spiral’s top sphere and the bottom will be several smaller spheres placed along the Infra Spiral which will act as a central nervous system, monitoring the structure, conducting research, and supplying energy.
The Blue Garden, of course, will feature a healthy amount of glass in its design.
Shimizu’s decision to focus on the sea is likely no accident. As the Wall Street Journal points out, Shimizu is rivals with Obayashi, the construction company that announced it will build an elevator that reaches outer space by 2050.