NASA will return to the bottom of the ocean twice this summer as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).
Aquanauts participating in NEEMO 18 and 19 will conduct activities on the sea floor that will help future International Space Station and exploration activities. The harsh, constraining conditions experienced by the aquanauts on the seafloor are similar to the ones they will experience at the space station, so lessons learned in the ocean can be directly applied to life in space.
“It is both challenging and exciting for our astronaut crews to participate in these undersea missions in preparation for spaceflight,” Bill Todd, NEEMO project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a news release. “The extreme environment of life undersea is as close to being in space as possible.”
The first mission, NEEMO 18, will begin on July 21 and will focus on behavior health and performance, human health issues, and habitability. The second mission, NEEMO 19, will begin on September 7 and will focus on telementoring operations (when a crew member is given instructions for a task virtually by an expert in a remote location) for the European Space Agency (ESA). Both missions will also investigate tools to help astronauts learn new procedures while in flight.
Crew members will live on the seafloor in the Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only underwater research lab, located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
To learn more:
- Read the full news release: NASA Announces Two Upcoming Undersea Missions.
- Check out the NEEMO website for the latest information.
- Read about the Aquarius Reef Base.
Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.