NASA Goes Diving

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Aquarius Underwater Laboratory

Aquarius Underwater Laboratory (Source-

On the 17th of October NASA will begin their 15th underwater mission in the Aquarius underwater laboratory located near Key Largo, Florida, during which they will be testing equipment and operational techniques required for exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids.

The mission, named NEEMO15 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project), will last for 10 to 14 days and will carry on the research from their last 14 missions which began in 2001. The first 13 missions concentrated primarily on Astronaut training while NEEMO14 concentrated on testing equipment and operational concepts for space exploration. NEEMO sends groups of employees and contractors, called Aquanauts, underwater for anything up to 3 weeks to study human survival during space exploration as they will experience some of the same tasks and challenges as they would in outer space.

The Aquarius underwater laboratory, primarily used for underwater research studying reefs and the ocean, is based in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, deployed approximately 2kms off shore at a depth of 20m. It is owned by NOAA and is operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Before the October mission, engineering evaluations were conducted from the 9th to 15th of May to understand the equipment, techniques and test concepts that they will be using. In October they will focus on 3 different aspects of a mission to an asteroid, anchoring to an asteroid, as there would be very little, if any gravity, moving around the surface of an asteroid using anchor points and investigating different methods of sample collection.

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The pictures below are from NASA showing activities conducted by NEEMO Aquanauts.

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published on May 16, 2011 by jason
tags: , , , , , , , , , category: curios

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