Here’s a silly confession: I’m irrationally afraid of deep swimming pools. So when I first saw this rendering of what could become the world’s deepest “space pool,” my gut reaction was to turn off my computer and run for the hills. But the logical part of my brain reminded me that this would actually be pretty awesome.

Swimming pools are important training grounds for astronauts and deep sea divers alike, because they simulate the microgravity conditions of both environments. At 50 meters (164 shudder-inducing feet) deep, the space pool now being now being proposed by the University of Essex and development partner Blue Abyss would become the world’s deepest. That title is currently held by a 42 meter (137 foot) deep diving pool in Montegrotto Terme, Italy. NASA’s own 12 meter (40 foot) training pool pales by comparison.

But don’t get too excited yet, divers: The pool is still in the ‘exploratory discussion’ phase, and the university will have to shell out 60 million dollars to make it happen. But Blue Abyss is hoping the project will pay itself off by attracting everything from human spaceflight research programs to environmental scientists, marine physiologists, and commercial diver training programs.

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So, there you have it. World’s deepest space pool. I’m not going to touch it with a 50-foot pole, but I wish you a happy, decompression sickness-free time if you decide to take a dip.

[BBC]

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Image via Blue Abyss