- Joseph Dituri, professor of biomedical engineering, is attempting to set a new record for undersea living: 100 days.
- The South Florida researcher’s body will be studied during and after the 100-day period.
- Researchers hope to find out whether living under pressure can extend life span and prevent some diseases of aging.
A Florida professor has been living underwater for the past two weeks and won’t return to the surface until June if all goes according to plan.
Joseph Dituri, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of South Florida, is attempting to break the world record for the most days a human can stay underwater. previous record is 73 days was planted in 2014 by two Tennessee professors.
dituri is attempting to live for 100 days in a special habitat about 25 feet down in an ocean lagoon in Key Largo, Florida.
On the 15th day of his adventure, which began on March 1, Dituri spoke over a Zoom call from his underwater home, sharing what he found most rewarding, most challenging and most surprising about life at sea What is the matter.
Mission: 100 days under the sea
Deturi’s main objective while underwater is not to break records but to study how the human body reacts to long-term exposure to extreme pressure.
before living in 100 sq ft housingIn what is called the Jules Undersea Lodge, Deturi undergoes a battery of psychological and medical tests. While he remains underwater, and thereafter, a medical team will continue to perform tests on the 55-year-old.
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The goals of the project, which is expected to cost $250,000, include studying the psychological effects of living in an isolated, confined environment for months and finding out whether living under pressure can increase life span and prevent certain diseases of aging. can be, according to a News release about the project.
“We haven’t done this level of research on people living underwater,” Dituri told reporters last week. “After 73 days there are no humans left. We’re going to 100.”
The challenges and joys of underwater life
When Ditturi talked to USA Today about the project this week, it was 15% of its 100 days underwater.
He said the hardest part is missing his three eldest daughters, mother and girlfriend, although he can still text and Zoom with them.
While serving in the Navy for 28 years, Dituri had gotten used to being away from loved ones while often stationed overseas. Getting used to it didn’t make it easier for him or her.
“My daughter is at Caltech, graduating in May with a degree in physics. I’ll miss her,” Dituri said. “We had to fit it in between hurricane season and the holidays, and I’m like, ‘Baby, something had to fall.’ And she says, ‘Don’t worry about it. I know you’ll be there in spirit.’ And I’m like, ‘Damn.’
Dituri’s favorite moment came when a bunch of kids held their breath trying to walk up to a porthole in Dituri’s residence to say hello. (He is often seen by scuba divers and other visitors eager to see his life beneath.)
“The children were holding their breath trying to come down, but this little girl was not going to give up,” he said. “I saw the little girl swimming, trying to hold her breath, trying to hold her breath, and she tried 15 times. I was like, ‘Come on, come on!'”
The girl finally reached her gate and Dituri took a selfie with her, sent it to his mission director, who then made sure he delivered it to the girl.
“This little kid was like, ‘Hey, I got to do something I didn’t think I could do, but I did it,'” he said. “This mission can end tomorrow and I’ll be good.”
poor sleep, a stiff back, and lots of bathroom trips
Dituri recently took a virtual tour of his residence, showing reporters the bunk where he sleeps, the bathroom area that includes a toilet and a fresh water shower, and his kitchen and workspace.
He joked that the most important item on board might be Dituri’s coffee maker. He also has a microwave, but due to the pressure situation, he cannot cook much food with it.
Luckily, visitors can bring fresh food for her.
More recently, he dined on frozen salmon patties that he reheated in the microwave and flavored with lemon pepper, salt, and oregano.
he’s documenting some of his daily life InstagramSharing things like a video showing how to deep mash a banana.
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Physically, Dituri is having difficulty sleeping well in the habitat, although it is not sure why. He also has back pain because his living quarters are two inches shorter than his height of 6 feet, 2 inches—which means he is hunched over all day.
Deturi also realized very quickly that living underwater meant more trips to the bathroom. He said it was so noticeable that everyone visiting the habitat had to provide urine samples so researchers could compare quantities.
Apart from this, Dituri is feeling good and staying in shape by doing 100 pushups and situps a day apart from yoga.
It’s all been well worth it for the professor, who is passionate about biohacking and plans to live to be 110. Some studies have shown that living in hyperbaric conditions can slow down the aging process.
“So, we suspect I’m going to come out superhuman,” Dituri joked. “Who knows how good I’m going to be.”