Astronaut Tim Peake backs £40m pool to help space research


Designs for the world's deepest and largest indoor pool which could be built in Essex to help recreate conditions in space have met with approval from astronaut Tim Peake in the International Space Station.

Blue Abyss has released 3D footage of what its pool in Colchester would look like.

The pool would help research, training and development, and at 50 metres long and 50 metres deep would be the UK and Europe's leading marine and space research facility.

Tweeting from the ISS, Major Peake said: "Exciting new project 'Blue Abyss' to build world's largest indoor pool in the UK - serving human spaceflight and more."

The project, estimated to cost around £40 million, will simulate outer space and deep sea environments which could be used in space-flight programmes.

It is aimed primarily at assisting commercial diving, remote operated vehicle work, autonomous unmanned vehicles, life science and human space flight.

The complex will house both hyper- and hypo-baric chambers and a micro-gravity simulation suspension system to replicate the effects of weightlessness and low gravity in environments like those found on the moon and Mars.

A research and development facility - named after Professor Walter Kuehnegger, the Nasa member who pioneered the Apollo programme of human exploration of the moon - will be the first in the UK to focus on human space flight and its terrestrial benefits.

But as well as providing the perfect training environment for the next generation of Tim Peakes, the centre would also be open to the public.

A spokesman for Blue Abyss said: "The facility aims to encourage people of all ages and abilities to discover the joys of exploring our marine environments through recreational diving, as well as providing the UK with an innovative, aquatic-based science, technology, engineering and maths education centre."