“Mission Aquarius” Will Celebrate 50 Years of Scientists Living Under the Sea and Underscore the Need for Increased Ocean Exploration and Research

Laguna Beach, Calif. – July 10, 2012 – Today, MacGillivray Freeman Films and One World One Ocean announced Mission Aquarius, a 6-day underwater expedition and media campaign from July 16-21 led by Dr. Sylvia Earle and a team of aquanauts to the Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only remaining undersea laboratory, located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Mission Aquarius will feature real-time programming from the undersea habitat produced by One World One Ocean in association with MacGillivray Freeman Films and Liquid Pictures as part of a campaign to celebrate half a century of scientists living and working under the sea and highlight the value of undersea exploration and the unique challenges facing our oceans.  Aquarius is scheduled for closure by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) unless new funding is found.

“For 50 years, starting with the first undersea lab built by Jacques Cousteau in 1962, scientists have been living under the sea to better study some of the ocean’s greatest mysteries,” says Shaun MacGillivray, Managing Director of One World One Ocean.  “Aquarius has continued this tradition for more than two decades, and now as ocean research pioneer Dr. Sylvia Earle leads what may be the last expedition to this undersea outpost, we feel a responsibility to share its incredible story with a mass audience.”

Watch One World One Ocean’s Mission Aquarius trailer here:

Known as “America’s Inner Space Station,” Aquarius has supported 114 missions since 1993 and is the scene of a number of critical scientific discoveries.  From understanding the disappearance of coral reefs, to providing research on sea sponges, the source of multiple cancer drugs, to training NASA astronauts for space, Aquarius is one of the planet’s most important brain trusts at a time when only 5% of the ocean has been explored.

“We know more about the moon than we do about our ocean, which sustains all life on this planet,” said Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and One World One Ocean science advisor who led the first all-women team to the Tektite undersea habitat in 1970. “Only by making undersea exploration and research an international priority can we learn what we need to know about the ocean to protect it and protect ourselves.”

To engage people worldwide in Mission Aquarius, a dedicated team of IMAX filmmakers and digital media professionals from MacGillivray Freeman Films and its One World One Ocean campaign will produce real-time original programming from July 16-21 direct from the undersea habitat, where the aquanaut team will be conducting scientific research and educating people about the need for increased ocean exploration and conservation.

As part of the real-time programming, One World One Ocean will give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to live 60 feet underwater in the Aquarius lab, showcase its rich history and scientific achievements and conduct live interviews with Earle and a team of scientists and special guests. Audiences will be able to tune in to live events from Mission Aquarius online on a special feed on and dive in to other daily original content – including short videos, blogs and slideshows – on One World One Ocean’s website


The MacGillivray Freeman Films team will also capture IMAX and HD digital footage for its series of ocean IMAX Theatre films, television specials and a theatrical documentary produced for the One World One Ocean campaign. One World One Ocean’s inaugural film To The Arctic was released in April.

As part of the Mission Aquarius campaign, One World One Ocean is calling on the global online community to show their support for Dr. Earle’s mission to increase ocean exploration and research and critical projects like Aquarius by making an online pledge . The public is also encouraged to participate in the Mission Aquarius conversation online using hashtag #MissionAquarius where One World One Ocean will post daily updates from the expedition and announce real-time opportunities to interact with the aquanaut team.

Located next to a living coral reef 3.5 miles offshore, Aquarius is the only operating undersea laboratory of its kind. The national treasure allows scientists to live and work underwater for up to two-week periods using saturation diving, which vastly increases research efficiency and cost effectiveness.  Scientists estimate that 10 days of research conducted using saturation diving at Aquarius would take approximately six months to one year if using only conventional 1 to 2-hour dives from a boat.

The aquanaut team includes Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Mark Patterson, Professor of Marine Science at The College of William & Mary and D.J. Roller, producer and cinematographer at Liquid Pictures.

The public can learn more about the newly formed Aquarius Foundation established by Dr. Earle and other scientists to secure new funding to maintain the operation of the undersea lab by visiting its Facebook page.

Mission Aquarius is a collaboration between One World One Ocean, MacGillivray Freeman Films, Dr. Sylvia Earle , NOAA, the lab’s operator University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Mission Blue, the Aquarius Reef Base, the Aquarius Foundation and Liquid Pictures LLC.

For more information about Mission Aquarius, visit and the Aquarius Reef Base website.

About One World One Ocean
One World One Ocean is a 10‐year, multi‐platform media campaign that is harnessing the power of film, television and new media to generate greater global awareness of the ocean’s importance to society. As “the ocean’s storyteller,” One World One Ocean will inspire and connect millions worldwide in an effort to catalyze a movement to restore and protect the world’s oceans. An initiative of MacGillivray Freeman Films, the world’s best-selling producer of films for IMAX theatres, One World One Ocean will work in collaboration with the One World One Ocean Foundation and other campaign partners to produce and distribute ocean education programs around the world.  For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Molly Malloy                                                        Lori Rick
847-691-5219                                                     818-212-3434
mmalloy (at) oneworldoneocean (dot) org          lrick (at) macfreefilms (dot) com

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