University of Essex in world's deepest 'space' pool plan
A university is in "exploratory discussions" to build the world's deepest swimming pool for spaceflight and human endurance research.
The proposed 50m (164ft) deep pool at the University of Essex would be far deeper than NASA's own 12m (40ft) deep training pool in Houston.
If it goes ahead, the project is expected to cost £40m.
The pool would simulate the microgravity of outer space and deep sea environments.
The university's development partner Blue Abyss said the pool could be used for human spaceflight research programmes, environmental monitoring, training in advanced commercial diving techniques, marine and human physiology research and aerospace development.
The world's current deepest pool is the Y-40 diving pool in Montegrotto Terme, Italy, which is 42m (137ft) deep.
- In 2008, Vittorio Innocente rode a bicycle at a depth of 67m (219ft)
- The plunge pool under Niagara Falls is 35m (114ft), nearly two-thirds of the height of the falls themselves.
- The standard Olympic diving pool is 5m (16ft) deep
- Loch Morar is the UK's deepest body of water, dropping to a depth of 310m
John Vickers, managing director of Blue Abyss, said: "All the ingredients are here; the location near to Stansted Airport and the North Sea offshore industry via Harwich; a superb campus site and an excellent research base within the University's academic departments."
University of Essex registrar Bryn Morris said the pool idea, on the Knowledge Gateway research and business park, fitted in "very well" with the university's "strengths".