In some ways we are light years ahead of where we were in terms of technology, and the high speed cameras, oxygen electrodes, and 360 camera system that we will be using during the Mission were only dreamt of. As a father of two daughters I am absolutely thrilled to see so many young women taking part in Mission 31. Inclusivity has been a message that Fabien has been pushing since day 1, and to see so many women scientists involved (Liz and Grace in saturation, and Alli, Amanda, Jessica and Sara topside) gives me hope that my daughters may not need to face the same ordeals that so many of my female colleagues have had to endure. Simone Melchior, Fabien's grandmother, was the first female aquanaut, and lived in Conshelf II during the historic mission 50 years ago. It is an unfortunate sign of the times that her participation was seldom mentioned. Not so today. But to me the saddest part- as Francis alluded to in his post- is that so many of us seem to have forgotten how to dream. Watching "World without Sun" the viewer can feel that we were on the precipice of something amazing as new worlds were opened up through the window of Cousteau's underwater cameras.
The science we will be doing on this Mission will be cutting edge, and hopefully what we learn can better arm society to help protect a rapidly changing ocean. But to me, what excites me most is that Mission 31 may start to rekindle that lost connection to the sea, so that some day my daughters can look back and say "wow, humans really came close to messing things up. But somehow we found our connection to nature just in time to turn things around."
I think I speak for all of us when I say we are very grateful to Fabien to have the opportunity to participate in this historic mission, and that we can't wait to join in the fun in two weeks!