'My goal from day 1 has been to inspire generations to come, interview scientists who study life undersea,' said the professor.
A Florida professor has set a world record by spending the longest time underwater without depressurization. Joseph Dituri, 55, also known as "Dr. Deep Sea," is celebrating 73 days spent undersea. He hopes to reach 100 days at the bottom of a 30-foot lagoon in Key Largo, Florida.
"Today I broke the world record for living underwater," Dituri wrote on Twitter upon spending 73 days underwater, reported PEOPLE. "The curiosity for discovery has led me here. My goal from day 1 has been to inspire generations to come, interview scientists who study life undersea, and learn how the human body functions in extreme environments."
"The idea here is to populate the world's oceans, to take care of them by living in them and really treating them well," Dituri added, according to CBS News. Dituri, currently living in Jules' Undersea Lodge, broke the previous 2014 record of 73 days, two hours and 34 minutes set at the same place by two other professors, Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain.
"While breaking the world record is an exciting milestone, my mission doesn't end here," he wrote in an Instagram post. "I have 23 more days undersea to conduct research, engage with learners of all ages, and continue my journey of discovery."
Today I broke the world record for living underwater. The curiosity for discovery has led me here. My goal from day 1 has been to inspire generations to come, interview scientists who study life undersea and learn how the human body functions in extreme environments.— Joseph Dituri, Ph.D. (@drdeepsea) May 14, 2023
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The University of South Florida professor first took to this mission on March 1 and planned to stay underwater until June 9 to complete what he's calling Project Neptune 100. He also told ABC News that he has "more science to do" while he is underwater, where he is observing and conducting an experiment on how human bodies react to long-term exposure to extreme pressure.
The professor was a Navy officer for three decades before he left to study traumatic brain injuries. Currently, he is being checked regularly by a medical team for any physical side effects, reported CBS News. But he has not been alone during this experiment. Over 30 adults and 15 middle and high school students have spent time at the undersea lodge during Dituri's stay below the surface.
Dituri is also continuing his online lectures at the University of South Florida and he regularly updates his Instagram feed with snippets from his day-to-day life, including his morning routine and his interactions with others who are underwater. "The thing that I miss the most about being on the surface is literally the sun," Dituri reportedly said. "The sun has been a major factor in my life – I usually go to the gym at five and then I come back out and watch the sunrise."
It is a truly inspiring story of curiosity, discovery and what a human can indeed achieve!