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Wednesday
Jul022014

Fabien Cousteau Ends 31-Day Undersea Mission

Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage(ISLAMORADA, Fla.) -- Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, set foot on dry land Wednesday after a marathon 31-day mission living underwater in the Florida Keys.

"I personally would have loved to have continued beyond 31 days," Fabien Cousteau said at a news conference, hours after he took his first breath of fresh air in a month.

"I didn't know how I was going to react -- physically, psychologically," he said of his time living in a small vessel on the ocean floor. "And it was amazing how much it felt like home."

Since embarking on the undersea mission a month ago, Cousteau and his team lived on freeze-dried food and other rations while they conducted marine experiments from the lab and explored the marine life, all while broadcasting the entire mission online.

"Of course we all missed our families and friend," Cousteau said. "But it was such a unique experience and something I wish, hope in some way we were able to gift to the world -- so they could peek into this unusual thing we did and feel like they were part of the mission."

By choosing long-term saturation over dives, Cousteau said he and his team were able to yield enough research for an estimated 10 new research papers.

"The luxury of time is an enormous asset when you're trying to learn more about an alien environment," he said.

The Aquarius laboratory is the only underwater marine laboratory in the world and is operated by Florida International University. Only 46 feet long and 10 feet wide, the laboratory has been used for 21 years by scientists and has a working kitchen with microwave and even Wi-Fi, which Cousteau used to tweet about life underwater.

While saturated -- Cousteau wasn't completely cut off from the outside world. He welcomed visitors, including his father, Jean-Michel Cousteau, sister, Celine and actor Ian Somerhalder.

The mission comes 50 years after Jacques Cousteau conducted a similar experiment, living at the bottom of the Red Sea for 30 days.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio