Plans have been submitted to build the world’s deepest artificial pool in Cornwall to train astronauts and help advance undersea robotics.
The project would be 40 metres by 50 metres at the surface, with a 16-metre wide shaft plunging to 50 metres at its lowest point – nearly as deep as Nelson’s Column is high – and would also be the world’s largest pool by volume.
The aquatic centre housing it is proposed for a 10-acre site at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone at Cornwall airport in Newquay. The privately funded company Blue Abyss is in the process of applying for planning permission for the £150m project.
The pool, which would have the capacity to fill 17 Olympic-size swimming pools, would be covered by a sliding roof and 30-tonne crane, allowing large objects to be lowered into the pool.
Blue Abyss estimates that the underwater technology test centre will create 160 jobs and generate £8m annually for the local economy.
Blue Abyss applies for permission to build £150m centre with pool that would reach depths of 50m.
The British astronaut Major Tim Peake, who is backing the plans, said the site was the “perfect home” for it.
He said: “This project will join Goonhilly Earth Station and Spaceport Cornwall as significant national assets … helping to widen our knowledge of how humans and technology can function in extreme environments, for the benefit of people and the planet.”