the thing I learned about yesterday
February 24, 2012
I went to a talk at the dive shop yesterday and learned about something cool: NEEMO, or the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations. What is it? An underwater space lab! For real! Basically, NASA and other research organizations are doing all kinds of things to learn as much as they can about living and working in space, without actually going to space. (Because A) going to space is expensive, and B) you want to make all the mistakes here on Earth where there’s an atmosphere and stuff before you start trying things in a place with a ridiculously low margin for error.) I knew about the arctic research station on Devon Island that’s being used to simulate a habitat on Mars. I didn‘t know, until yesterday, about the Aquarius Habitat in Key Largo. It’s sixty feet underwater, and people live there for up to two weeks at a time, working on projects and experiments. Scientists and astronauts on NEEMO missions go to Aquarius to test equipment and techniques that might be used on Lunar, Mars, and even asteroid landings.
My mind is spinning with ideas…