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…


3 Responses to “the thing I learned about yesterday”

  1. zettew Says:

    Wow, that’s really cool! I didn’t know about it either! My husband is a rescue diver, and loves trips to go to the coast and do deep deep dives! I’m gonna have to tell him about this!

  2. My husband participated in NEEMO 15 last year, which unfortunately got cut short due to an incoming hurricane. He’s not sure yet if he’ll be participating in NEEMO 16 this year… funding, travel arrangements, etc. have to be worked out again. He scuba-trained specifically for NEEMO 15. He’s a planetary scientist rather than an astronaut, so he’s in a support role, mainly involved because near-Earth asteroids are of interest at the moment and that’s his speciality. If you’re going to be at Worldcon in Chicago it’s possible he might give a talk on NEEMO, although he is not on programming as of yet.

  3. carriev Says:

    Amy, that’s so awesome! Steve Chappell, who was on NEEMO 14, gave the talk and spoke quite a bit about 15 and the problems with the hurricane. I’m going to try to get him to come give the talk at Mile Hi Con.

    Really fascinating stuff. I don’t know that I’m going to make Worldcon this year, but I think the SF crowd would love such a presentation.

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