It's a research laboratory, it's an environmental education center, it's É another houseboat on Lake Mead in Nevada.


"Forever Earth" was dedicated at the lake in early October. The floating laboratory is a specially designed, 70-foot luxury houseboat, furnished with water and air quality monitoring equipment and a myriad of other scientific instruments. A research barge and support watercraft will cruise alongside the $500,000 houseboat when it's not moored at Callville Bay Marina.


Universities, research groups and environmental organizations can rent Forever Earth for academic projects, environmental monitoring and litter cleanups. Area schoolchildren will have access to the lab as an experiential learning center, and the general public can tour it at an open house planned for later this year.


Forever Earth is a joint project of the National Park Service, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Outside Las Vegas Foundation and Forever Resorts. For additional information, call the Lake Mead National Recreation Area at 702/293-8947; for scheduling information, call the Outside Las Vegas Foundation at 702/515-5125.