Destination Horizon is the name for the government-funded competition to build a craft that is capable of breaching the Half World Effect and reaching the other side of the world. 12 teams from throughout the world are competing for a 100 million mig grant. The grant will be awarded during the spring of 250 EM. Competitors are all in the final stages of building their prototypes, with a number of the teams already undergoing testing. The grant will provide funding for more research, construction, and testing, but teams are required to present a functioning prototype, not just a blueprint or design idea. Any winning idea must be plausible and sound in order to be eligible for the final prize.
While many of the designs are closely guarded secrets, two of the entries have been revealed, at least in part. One design, a project headed by Perry Hurst, the wealthiest man on Atla, is a multi-hulled super ship that is said to be unsinkable. Its layered hulls and lightweight design are thought to be able to withstand the force of any great waves without being battered or sunk. Its telescopic keel, said to be 600 feet long, will keep the boat from tipping or capsizing. Another entry, this one created by a team at the University of FreePort and known as Deep Blue, has become the favorite of citizens throughout the nation. Instead of a ship designed to sail over the waves and through the storms of the Half World Effect, Deep Blue will be what is known as a submarine, or a submersible vessel capable of underwater operation. The team believes that, while the storms are fierce above the ocean, it will be possible to avoid the storms altogether by diving underneath them.
A type of submarine has been in use for decades throughout Atla, though its design shares few traits with Deep Blue. Past submarines were pontoon boats with long shafts extending deep into the water below the craft. At the bottom of the shaft is a glass cockpit where an individual can safely view the underwater world without any danger. However, these submarines require a floating vessel to operate and are usually unpowered (they are used off of large reefs or in lakes for recreational or research purposes). Deep Blue will move freely underwater without attachments or connections to the surface. It is not clear how the vessel will be powered or how the operators will breathe. Despite these major issues, the team from the University is confident in their chances of winning the grant.