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The Tektite experiment was designed to provide data for a number of behavioral, biomedical, and engineering studies in addition to the marine sciences program. Conditions for some of these studies were not altogether compatible with the program for the marine sciences. For example, isolation imposed by human behavioral studies precluded physical contact with the surface team, even though such contact was physically possible and desirable for the conduct of the marine sciences program. Isolation also imposed on the scientific team the duty of all in-habitat maintenance, both scheduled and unscheduled, thereby taking substantial time from scientific research. In addition, between 10 and 20 percent of the waking time was devoted to performance of psychological tests required for the biomedical studies. Most of the experiments were directed toward detecting potentially adverse changes and thus were accepted as necessary and desirable. The only health problem to affect the scientific program during the dive was a minor external ear infection contracted by all the divers. Nonetheless, the experiment demon. strated, at least to our satisfaction, the advantages of underwater habitation and saturation diving for biological and geological research. A major advantage is the opportunity for continuous monitoring of organisms or processes. In addition, underwater habitation provides for considerably more research time in the water than surface diving or intermittent bottom dwelling, and this advantage increases greatly as the depth of habitation increases. Even in the relatively shallow depths at which Tektite 1 was conducted, the undersea team could spend appreciably more time at work in the water than their colleagues on the surface. Finally, Tektite 1 demonstrated that the scientist who lives in the sea need not have the extensive qualifications of a professional diver. Of the four scientists of the in-habitat team, only Crew Chief Waller was so qualified; the other three had used scuba as a research tool, but on a relatively limited basis. Any healthy, well-conditioned marine scientist with a basic diving background is capable of extending his research into the shallow sea on a full-time basis. It is hoped that many such scientists will in the future be able to utilize the undersea laboratory.
Additional Publication Details
Tektite 1, man-in-the-sea project: Marine Science Program