French Polynesia could become home to the Seasteading Institute’s first floating city after presidential meeting

The Seasteading Institute has announced that it met with Édouard Fritch, the President of French Polynesia, in order to discuss the development of a floating city in the region.

The meeting, held on Friday, was attended by an international delegation from the Institute and followed a tour of several potential sites as well as meetings with other officials.

The delegation has looked at the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Tupai, and Raiatea as possible locations for the Seasteading and met with Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery, the Blue Economy and Digital Policy, Sylviane Terooatea, Mayor of Raiatea, and Gaston Tong Sang, former president and Mayor of Bora Bora and Tupai.

The tour was part of the Seasteading Institute’s hope to negotiate a Special Economic Zone with French Polynesia in order to construct one of their floating cities in the region.

seastead-meeting

“We look forward to working with French Polynesia to develop floating islands that will benefit our host country and our international community of seasteaders,” said Randolph Hencken, executive director of the Seasteading Institute.

“With numerous protected waters where we could station the first pilot platforms, French Polynesia offers many optimal locations for seasteading from an engineering point of view.”

The Institute has already undertaken tests of its design for the floating platforms that will ultimately make up the city and proved that, provided the Seasteading was located in a protected area of the sea, it would be perfectly buoyant.

Given their plans to begin construction of the first such city within four years, the securing of a location for the city has been a vital step that has thus far eluded the Institute. The visit to French Polynesia however, seems promising in the fit between the project’s goals and the needs of the nation.

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

From an engineering standpoint, the location is ideal due to its range of protected waters while the Polynesian people would benefit from the economic possibilities offered by the Seasteading as well as the potential solutions it offers to rising sea levels.

If approved, the Polynesian platforms will serve as a test pilot in order to prove the final constructed model, as well as showcasing the actual functioning of the Seasteading as a city in collaboration with the host nation.

Former Minister of Tourism for French Polynesia Marc Collins expressed his support for The Seasteading Institute’s vision.

“Polynesian culture has a long history of seafaring across the Pacific Ocean that will contribute to this ambitious project,” he said.

“More than most nations, our islands are impacted by rising sea levels, and resilient floating islands could be one tangible solution for us to maintain our populations anchored to their islands.  For many Polynesians, leaving our islands is not an option.”

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You can now explore the International Space Station with Google Street View

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like aboard the International Space Station then Google has a treat in store for you because beginning today the ISS is available via Google Maps’ Street View.

Astronauts have been working and living on the ISS – a structure made up of 15 connected modules that floats 250 miles above Earth – for the past 16 years.

Now with Street View regular citizens can explore the station, and go everywhere from the sleeping quarters to where the space suits are kept. This is the first time Street View has ventured beyond planet Earth, and for the benefit of viewers the Street View feature also comes annotated, with handy little dots you can click on to explain what everything does, which is another first.

“In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space,” said European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a blog post.

“Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space.”

In his blog post, Pesquet goes on to describe how because of the constraints associated with living and working in space, it wasn’t possible to collect Street View using Google’s usual methods.

Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS.

Still photos were captured in space that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS.

Images courtesy of Google

“There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery,” recalled Pesquet.

“Oh, and there’s that whole zero gravity thing.”

Pesquet ended his blog post by revealing the inspiration behind the Street View and ISS collaboration.

“Looking at Earth from above made me think about my own world a little differently, and I hope that the ISS on Street View changes your view of the world too.” said Pesquet.