NASA news release announces plans to link to
virtual NOAA Aquarius dive
This story entered on 25th Jul, 2007 11:45:20 AM PST
A NASA News release today (July 24) will announce the NEEMO 13
mission in NOAA's Aquarius Laboratory. The release is scheduled
to include a link to a Google Earth "virtual dive" to
the Aquarius, that was recently filmed by NOAA and placed on the
Ocean Exploration Web site.
NASA will send three astronauts and a Constellation Program aerospace
engineer into the ocean depths off the Florida coast Aug. 6 to 15.
They will test lunar exploration concepts and a suite of long-duration
spaceflight medical objectives.
Veteran space flyer and aquanaut Nicholas Patrick will lead the
10-day undersea mission aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory. NASA Astronaut
Richard Arnold, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut
Satoshi Furukawa and systems integration engineer Christopher Gerty
complete the crew.
During the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 13 (NEEMO
13), the crew will conduct a variety of undersea "moon walks"
to test concepts for future lunar exploration using advanced navigation
and communication equipment.
This crew will work much more independently from the mission
control team than on previous missions, said NEEMO Project
Manager Bill Todd of the United Space Alliance at NASAs Johnson
Space Center in Houston. This autonomous mode of operation
will encourage the crew to make real-time decisions about daily
operations similar to what we think will be necessary for lunar
and Mars missions. The idea is to show how procedures and training
for future missions can be adapted, considering the reduced direct
communication with Mission Control those crews will encounter.
During extended undersea moon walks, the crew will construct a
communications tower, practice techniques for lunar sample collection
and manipulation and perform a series of tasks investigating future
spacesuit design. The crew also will participate in research designed
to answer questions on the physiology and human behavior aspects
of living in extreme environments.
Jim Buckley and Larry Ward of the University of North Carolina
at Wilmington will provide engineering support for the submerged
Aquarius habitat. The university operates Aquarius on behalf of
NOAA as part of NOAA's Undersea Research Program. The NEEMO missions
are a cooperative project among NASA, NOAA and the university.
This will be the 13th NEEMO undersea mission. NASA Flight Surgeon
Sean Roden will serve as a backup crew member.
Similar in size to the International Space Station's living quarters,
Aquarius is the world's only permanent underwater habitat and laboratory.
The 45-foot-long, 13-foot diameter complex is three miles off Key
Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, about 62 feet
beneath the surface. A surface buoy provides connections for power,
life support and communications. A shore-based control center monitors
the habitat and crew.
More information: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/technology/diving/aquarius/aquarius.html
Name: Fred Gorell
Tel: (301) 734-1021