A diver prepares to enter the Aquarius habitat.

A diver prepares to enter the Aquarius habitat.

Aquarius Essay Contest

Located 20 meters beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, next to deep coral reefs in the Florida Keys, lies Aquarius--the world’s only undersea laboratory. Scientists use Aquarius to study our oceans, as astronauts use the Inter-national Space Station to study our planet and outer space. Unlike regular SCUBA divers who return to the surface in less than an hour, Aquarius scientists, called aquanauts, explore and study coral reefs and their inhabitants for ten days or more, returning to the surface after their mission is complete. Aquarius is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and operated by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).

How do the aquanauts live underwater for so long? Where do they sleep? How do they get air? Who gets to be an aquanaut? Find answers on the Aquarius Web site. Aquarius aquanauts want to hear in 1,000 words or less about why you want to live under the ocean in Aquarius for 10 days.

One GRAND PRIZE will be awarded that includes an all expense paid trip* to Key Largo for a personal 45-minute tour inside Aquarius for the winning student, his/her teacher, and parent(s). A SCUBA certification course will be provided in Key Largo to the winning family and teacher.** Upon successful completion of the course, the GRAND PRIZE winner, teacher, and parents will visit Aquarius – UNDERWATER! Ten additional prizes include snorkel gear and coral reef books.

Contest Rules:
This contest is open to students in GRADES 8 - 12. Minimum student age by June 30, 2002, is 13. An application form is available on the web site. Typed paragraphs must begin, “I want to live 10 days under the ocean in Aquarius because...” and cannot exceed 1,000 words. Submissions must include: Name, Address, Phone, E-mail, Age (min. 13), Name of School, Grade Level, Parent Signature, and Teacher Signature.

Mail entries to:
National Undersea Research Center
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
C/O I Want to Live 10 Days Under the Ocean
515 Caribbean Drive
Key Largo, Florida 33037

Entries must be received by May 31, 2002. Prizes will be announced June 24, 2002, via posting on the Aquarius Web site. Entries become the property of UNCW.

* Limited to round trip coach airfare from U.S. location to Miami: transportation from Miami to Key Largo; hotel; and SCUBA certification class and equipment rentals (if not previously certified). Not included are food or any other incidentals. Trip to Key Largo must be claimed from July 15 to September 30, 2002.

** Winning student, parents, and teacher must provide a letter from a physician that they are medically fit to SCUBA dive. Visit to Aquarius requires SCUBA certification, or successful completion of SCUBA certification as part of the Grand Prize.

Download the Aquarius Project 2002 Application (386k, PDF).


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