The World's Largest and Deepest Indoor Pool Could Train Astronauts

Blue Abyss is set to hold the equivalent of 17 Olympic size swimming pools — or 168 million cups of tea.
Derya Ozdemir
The pool will be the largest and deepest indoor pool in the world. Blue Abyss

Cornwall, England is about to be home to the world's largest and deepest indoor pool with a whopping price of £150-million (US$212-million). The pool, which is planned by Blue Abyss Ltd., will allow scientists and engineers to test the newest underwater technologies, helping advance subsea robotics, and even train astronauts, according to a press release.

The pool, which will have the volume of 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools or 168 million cups of tea, will be constructed at Cornwall Airport Newquay's Aerohub Enterprise Zone. It will measure roughly 164 ft (50 m) long, 132 ft (40 m) wide, and 164 ft (50 m) deep in its 52-ft-wide (16-m) shaft.

"We're planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornwall and the Southwest are known for," said John Vickers, ex-forces diving instructor, and management consultant. The project is developed by him and British astronaut Major Tim Peake serving on the Blue Abyss.

The World's Largest and Deepest Indoor Pool Could Train Astronauts
Rendering of Blue Abyss complex. Source: Blue Abyss

"Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defense, leisure, and marine industries, and a fantastic education center for children and university students. Cornwall already feels like our natural home, and we're delighted to receive such a warm response." 

Pools have been used for centuries to explore submarine designs and to solve complex engineering problems and this one, thanks to its great size, will be able to hold replicas of International Space Station (ISS) modules, for example.

The World's Largest and Deepest Indoor Pool Could Train Astronauts
Source: Blue Abyss

By simulating extreme environments in a safe and controlled setting and including the world’s first commercial astronaut training facility, Blue Abyss will appeal to a wide range of markets, including offshore energy, maritime defense, ocean ecology, human life sciences, and commercial diving.

It can also be used to test undersea robotic vessels, mini submersibles, and offshore wind turbine installations and be of great use to divers and astronauts and for testing remote-controlled subsea robots since it will be a spectacular training ground with simulated weightlessness.

Construction is expected to take roughly 18 months after the planning clearance is granted, with the facility set to open in 2023.

You can watch the video embedded below to see more of Blue Abyss:


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