Back in the early nineties, there were several things a budding radical transhumanist might do to distinguish themselves. To keep abreast of the latest libertarian ideals, and the freethinking technologies that would be required to realize them, subscriptions to cutting edge publications like the Extropy: Journal of Tranhumanist Thought, and the Alcor Foundation’s Cryonics magazine would be essential. But what really separated the early doers from the wannabe futurists and dreamers was throwing some tangible support into ‘Operation Atlantis’ — the Floating City of Oceania — by purchasing and actually wearing their promotional T-shirt.
Oceania promised much more than just a neat place to live; it offered an entirely new way to live, and a new way to think. Unfortunately, like many other would-be Waterworlds proposed both prior and since, it just wasn’t to be. In hindsight, we now know that the primary reason for the failure of the Oceania concept was its shape. Specifically, its design was not modeled after that sleek and mysterious denizen of the deep — the manta.
Fortunately, French architect Jacques Rougerie has been able to spec out a massive floating city capable of housing some 7000 “ocean scientists,” and yet still hold the strict tolerances of the manta form factor. That, he says, provides the “best possible correlation between space and stability needs.” Practically speaking, that translates into the ability to resist turbulence and severe weather. Rougerie’s City of Mériens would be 900 meters long and 500 wide, while extending to 120 below the surface, and rising to 60 above.
The mantamorphic shape contains within itself another surprise, a large interior lagoon which provides shelter for yet another key Rougerian innovation — the SeaOrbiter. This nimble creation is more than just a properly dimensioned CAD file with a complete Bill of Materials (and we are giving the City of Mériens the benefit of the doubt on that here). In fact the SeaOrbiter is already a work in progress. Construction on the $50 million craft is apparently moving right along, with the first operational prototype expected to be operational next year.