From Deep Sea to Outer Space with Fabien Cousteau, Jacques Rougerie and Peter Weiss

On July 22nd, 1-3 PM UTC, we started a new Webinar series called Roundtable on Current Issues. The first session had a unique group of speakers: Fabien Cousteau, Jacques Rougerie and Peter Weiss. The moderator was Gui Menezes, Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology of the Government of the Azores. They discussed human life in extreme environments, From the Deep Sea to the Outer Space.


  • 1:00 PM UTC – Welcome address and introductions, Gui Menezes
  • 1:10 PM UTC – Jacques Rougerie
  • 1:40 PM UTC – Peter Weiss
  • 2:10 PM UTC – Fabien Cousteau
  • 2:40 PM UTC – Q&A Session
  • 2:55 PM UTC – Closing remarks, Gui Menezes


Fabien Cousteau

Aquanaut, Oceanographic Explorer, Environmental Advocate and Founder of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center

As the first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Fabien spent his early years aboard his famous grandfather’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone; and learning how to scuba dive on his fourth birthday.

He is well known for his study of sharks. From 2000-2002, Fabien was an Explorer-at- Large for National Geographic and collaborated on a TV special aimed at changing public conceptions about sharks called, “Attack of the Mystery Shark”. In 2003-2006, he produced the documentary, “Mind of a Demon”, that aired on CBS. With the help of a large crew, Fabien created a 14-foot, 1,200- pound, lifelike shark submarine called “Troy” that enabled him to immerse himself inside the shark world, providing viewers with a rare view of the mysterious and often misunderstood creatures.

For the next four years (2006-2010), Fabien was part of a multi-hour series for PBS called, “Ocean Adventures” with his father, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and sister, Céline, inspired by his grandfather’s famous 1978 PBS series, “The Cousteau Odyssey”. In the following years, and as a member of multiple cause- driven and charitable boards, Fabien has been working with local communities and children worldwide to help restore local water ecosystems.

In June 2014, Fabien and his team of aquanauts embarked on Mission 31, the longest science expedition to take place at Aquarius, the world’s only underwater marine laboratory located in Florida. Fabien’s Mission 31 broke new ground in ocean exploration and honoured the 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s original underwater living experiment (Conshelf Two) by going deeper, longer and further, while broadcasting the Mission live on multiple channels educating and exposing the world to the adventure and mystique of our blue planet.

Early in 2016 he founded the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (“FCOLC”) to fulfil his dream of creating a vehicle to make a positive change in the world. Currently he is working on multiple projects and dedicates much of his time to the FCOLC’s marine restoration programs and research initiatives to protect and preserve the planet’s waters, coastal areas, and endangered marine habitats.

Recently Fabien was named an Honorary Advisor to the NGO Committee Sustainable Development-NY, whose purpose is to monitor and influence the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Jacques Rougerie

Internationally renowned visionary architect, Academician, member of the Institut de France. Experienced in projects on biomimetic, bio-inspired architecture.

A visionary architect, of international renown, passionate about the sea, Jacques Rougerie has based, for more than 30 years, his research and his realizations on bionic and biomimetic architecture, that takes into account the principles of sustainable development. His prospective vision and his interest in new technologies allow him to propose a better integration of the habitat in its natural environment, in particular the littoral and marine ones. Thus he draws his inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci and his faith in the genius of human spirit. He combines, hence, his two passions: the sea and architecture.

He built sea centers, underwater museums, habitats and underwater laboratories, transparent vessels, and imagined major projects always linked to the marine environment. He thus leads his two passions, the sea and the architecture. Experimenting himself with his achievements as a true explorer of the underwater world.

Experimenting his own achievements as a true explorer of the underwater world, he went to live several times in underwater habitats and participated in the 69-day world record under the sea in the United States.

His latest projects, SeaOrbiter and the “City of Meriens”, bring together more than 30 years of innovative research in the fields of marine and underwater architecture. They have always been inspired by the writings of Jules Verne.

Member of the Institute, Academy of Fine Arts, he created the Jacques Rougerie Foundation, Space and Sea Generation within the Institut de France. Through its annual International Architecture Competition, the foundation encourages young international people to design the habitats and lifestyles of the future.

It is from the ocean and from space that will be born the destiny of future civilizations” Jacques Rougerie.

Peter Weiss

Director of the Space & lnnovation Department with experience in the field of space technology, subsea engineering and renewable energies

Dr. Peter Weiss (DE) has more than 15 years of experience in the management of industrial and research projects in the field of deep-sea and human exploration space projects. He was Project Manager of several projects for the European Commission, European Space Agency ESA, Centre national d’études spatiales CNES or industrial clients, and Technical Coordinator of the European Commission 7th Framework programme FP7 project MOONWALK and team leader for COMEX (or Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises).
Peter earned a BSc (Uni. Applied Sciences München, Germany) in Mechatroncis, a MSc (EPF Paris, France) in Robotics and a PhD on Kinetic impactor probes for the Moon (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China). Peter worked on a lightweight robot arm at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), Germany, on self- transforming robotic planetary explorers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston/USA, and as Project Manager for European Commission Projects at Cybernetix, France..


Gui Menezes

Gui Menezes is the Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology of the Regional Government of the Azores. His department oversees the areas of fisheries and aquaculture, oceanographic exploration, sea-related activities, coastal areas and the cooperation with the Maritime Police. It is also in charge of coordinating the policies developed in the areas of Science and Technology in the Azores as well as the relation between the Regional Government and the University of the Azores, and other entities representing the Information Society.

Gui Menezes holds a PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of the Azores and a degree in Biology from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. He works as Assistant Researcher at the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries (DOP) of the University of the Azores, which he joined in 1993. His research work has addressed several fields, especially those related to demersal and deep-sea fish species as well as the ecology of the deep sea in general. He has been in charge of coordinating the annual campaigns to monitor the abundance of demersal and deep-sea species in the Azores since 1996.

He participated as coordinator or member of research teams in numerous regional, national and international research projects as well as in several national and international research campaigns in the Atlantic, namely in the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde; most of which were focused on the study of demersal and deep-sea fish species.

He is the author or co-author of over 60 scientific articles already published or under publication, mostly in international journals with peer review. He was also responsible for the organisation of conferences and workshops, having participated as speaker in numerous scientific conferences and meetings.

In 2008, he won the BES 2008 National Innovation Contest (4th Edition) in the area of Trade and Services, an initiative organised by Banco Espírito Santo on an annual basis. Following this award, he was distinguished by the Horta City Hall with the Golden Municipal Merit Medal in 2009.

He was a member of several reflection groups on fisheries and science by appointment of the Regional Government of the Azores. In the last four years, he was the regional representative at the Economic and Social Council (CES) by appointment of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of the Azores. He was the national representative of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) in the European strategic group – SCARFish, included in SCAR (Standing Committee on Agricultural Research).

Over the years, he has participated in various working groups of ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) as well as in several Regional Fisheries Councils.

He is a member of the board of the research centre FCT – MARE (Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre). For several years, he was a member of the governing bodies of IMAR (Institute of Marine Research), OMA (Azores Sea Observatory) and other local institutions..


This event wouldn’t have been possible without the constant and inestimable  support and encouragement from Cristina Antunes, founder of United by the Sea. For that, we will be always very grateful.

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