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Aquarius Undersea Laboratory begins 2003 Mission Year

National Undersea Research Program - NURP
This story entered on 9th Jun, 2003 08:30:53 AM PST

The June mission of NOAA's Aquarius Undersea Laboratory will include NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who lived and conducted research aboard the International Space Station for 190 days in 2002. Joining Whitson on the crew of this year's first NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations program, designated NEEMO 5, from June 16-29, will be fellow astronauts Clayton Anderson and Garrett Reisman, and space station support scientist Emma Hwang. Training for the mission begins today and includes an intensive week-long dive schedule, safety and operations briefings, and emergency drills.

In addition to its research capability, Aquarius provides a platform for education and outreach activity, providing a window in the ocean for the public to learn about what science projects and why they are important. The NEEMO 5 crew will participate in six separate educational point-to-point video conferences and a web chat from the underwater habitat. The first event will be the web chat, a cooperative effort of JSC's Distance Learning Outpost (DLO) and NASA Ames Research Center's Quest project. The streaming video web chat is scheduled for June 19. For more information, visit the NASA Web site at

Students in Titonka, Iowa, Jersey City, New Jersey, Omaha, Nebraska, Nashville, Tennessee, Orlando, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and three National Guard Bureau locations will be able to see live television pictures and talk with the crewmembers via a DLO videoconferencing system on various dates throughout the mission. For more information about the Distance Learning Outpost and other JSC educational programs, visit the JSC NASA Web site at

Media are invited to participate in a crew news conference at a time to be determined, Thursday, June 26. Media wishing to participate must contact the JSC newsroom no later than 4 p.m. June 24 for accreditation. Two-way question and answer capability will be available through telephone patches established at the Johnson Space Center. In addition, the NEEMO 5 crew is scheduled to share a ship-to-ship conversation with Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Science Officer Ed Lu on NASA Television at a time to be determined Wednesday, June 25.

For more information on NOAA's Aquarius, visit the Aquarius website hosted by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Contact information:
Name: Steven Miller
Tel: (305) 451-233


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