NEEMO

NEEMO, an acronym for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations,[1] is a NASA analog mission that sends groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius underwater laboratory, the world's only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time in preparation for future space exploration.[2]

NEEMO Program

NEEMO Program Seal

Aquarius Reef Base Seal
Duration2001-present
Goal"To see what extreme environmental challenges astronauts may face in space, and to form solutions by using the ocean, as an equivalent environment on earth"
OrganizationNASA, Florida International University, Aquarius Reef Base
Websitewww.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/index.html

Aquarius is an underwater habitat located 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) off Key Largo, Florida, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is deployed on the ocean floor next to deep coral reefs 62 feet (19 metres) below the surface.

NASA has used it since 2001 for a series of space exploration simulation missions, usually lasting 7 to 14 days, with space research mainly conducted by international astronauts. The mission had cost about 500 million U.S. dollars. The crew members are called aquanauts (as they live underwater at depth pressure for a period equal to or greater than 24 continuous hours without returning to the surface), and they perform EVAs in the underwater environment.[2] A technique known as saturation diving allows the aquanauts to live and work underwater for days or weeks at a time. After twenty four hours underwater at any depth, the human body becomes saturated with dissolved gas. With saturation diving, divers can accurately predict exactly how much time they need to decompress before returning to the surface. This information limits the risk of decompression sickness. By living in the Aquarius habitat and working at the same depth on the ocean floor, NEEMO crews are able to remain underwater for the duration of their mission.

For NASA, the Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analog for space exploration.[2] Much like space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. NEEMO crew members experience some of the same challenges there that they would on a distant asteroid, planet (i.e. Mars) or Moon. During NEEMO missions, the aquanauts are able to simulate living on a spacecraft and test spacewalk techniques for future space missions. Working in space and underwater environments requires extensive planning and sophisticated equipment. The underwater condition has the additional benefit of allowing NASA to "weight" the aquanauts to simulate different gravity environments.[3]

Until 2012, Aquarius was owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the National Undersea Research Center (NURC) at the University of North CarolinaWilmington as a marine biology study base.

Since 2013, Aquarius is owned by Florida International University (FIU).[4] As part of the FIU Marine Education and Research Initiative, the Medina Aquarius Program is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide and is enhancing the scope and impact of FIU on research, educational outreach, technology development, and professional training. At the heart of the program is the Aquarius Reef Base.[5]

Missions

NEEMO 1: October 21–27, 2001

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 2: May 13–20, 2002

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

  • Thor Dunmire
  • Ryan Snow

NEEMO 3: July 15–21, 2002

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

  • Byron Croker
  • Michael Smith

NEEMO 4: September 23–27, 2002

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 5: June 16–29, 2003

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 6: July 12–21, 2004

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 7: October 11–21, 2004

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 8: April 20–22, 2005

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 9: April 3–20, 2006

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

  • James F. Buckley
  • Ross Hein
  • Marc Reagan, Mission Director

NEEMO 10: July 22–28, 2006

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 11: September 16–22, 2006

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 12: May 7–18, 2007

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 13: August 6–15, 2007

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

NURC Support Crew:

NEEMO 14: May 10–23, 2010

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

NEEMO 15: October 20–26, 2011

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

DeepWorker 2000 submersible crew:

NEEMO 16: June 11–22, 2012

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

DeepWorker 2000 submersible crew:

SEATEST II: September 9–13, 2013

Space Environment Analog for Testing EVA Systems and Training[44] ( NEEMO 17 ) Designation skipped[45]

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Aquarius Reef Base support crew:[46]

NEEMO 18: July 21–29, 2014

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Professional habitat technicians, Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

  • Hank Stark (FIU)

NEEMO 19: September 7–13, 2014

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

NEEMO 20: July 20 – August 2, 2015

NASA Aquanaut Crew:[48]

Professional habitat technicians, Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

NEEMO 20 mission objective was to simulate the time delays associated with sending and receiving commands between controllers on Earth and astronauts on Mars. Additional EVAs will simulate working on the surface of an asteroid, and the use of the DeepWorker submersible as an underwater stand-in for the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle.[50]

NEEMO 21: July 21 – August 5, 2016

The NEEMO 21 mission was scheduled to begin July 18, 2016 and conclude August 3, 2016; however, the mission start was shifted to July 21, 2016 as a result of unfavorable weather conditions.

NASA Aquanaut Crew:[51]

Professional habitat technicians, Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

  • Hank Stark (FIU)
  • Sean Moore (FIU)

NEEMO 22: June 18–27, 2017

NASA Aquanaut Crew:

Professional habitat technicians, Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

NEEMO 23: June 10-22, 2019

NASA all female Aquanaut Crew:[52]

  • Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA, Commander
  • Jessica Watkins, NASA astronaut candidate
  • Csilla Ari D’Agostino, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern Florida
  • Shirley Pomponi, Marine biologist at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Florida Atlantic University

Professional habitat technicians, Aquarius Reef Base support crew:

  • Otter
  • Tom

See also

  • Underwater habitat  Human habitable underwater enclosure filled with breathable gas
  • Aquanaut  Diver who remains at depth underwater for longer than 24 hours
  • SEALAB  Experimental underwater habitats developed by the United States Navy
  • Continental Shelf Station Two  Undersea research habitat in the Red Sea

References

  1. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/index.html
  2. NASA (March 21, 2006). "NEEMO History". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  3. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/about_neemo.html
  4. http://aquarius.fiu.edu/
  5. http://aquarius.fiu.edu/about/
  6. NASA (February 27, 2006). "Behind the Scenes: Training - NEEMO History". NASA. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  7. NASA (June 2011). "Astronaut Bio: Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke (06/2011)". NASA. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  8. NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on October 24, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  9. Walheim, Rex (September 24, 2002). "NEEMO 4 Journals". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  10. NOAA (May 17, 2010). "NEEMO 4 Journals". NOAA. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  11. NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  12. NASA (2003). "NEEMO 5". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  13. "Aquarius - First Space Station Science Officer Leads Crew of Four NASA Aquanauts On 14-Day NOAA Aquarius Undersea Mission". University of North Carolina Wilmington. May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  14. Whitson, Peggy (June 19, 2003). "NEEMO 5 Journals". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  15. NASA (August 3, 2004). "NEEMO 6". NASA. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  16. NASA (September 6, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  17. NASA (October 13, 2004). "NEEMO 7". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  18. Canadian Space Agency (August 9, 2004). "CSA - Neemo 7 Mission". Canadian Space Agency. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  19. NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  20. NOAA (May 18, 2010). "NEEMO 8". University of North Carolina Wilmington. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  21. NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  22. NASA (2006). "NASA's Undersea Crew is Heads Above Water". NASA. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  23. NASA (April 3, 2006). "NASA's NEEMO 9 Aquanaut Human Performance Study Begins". NASA. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  24. NASA (2006). "NASA Uses Undersea Lab to Prep for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  25. NASA (July 22, 2006). "NASA - NEEMO 10 Mission Journal". NASA. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  26. NASA (May 11, 2010). "NEEMO 11". NASA. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  27. NASA (September 1, 2006). "NASA Continues Space Exploration Research With Undersea Lab". NASA. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  28. NASA (May 17, 2007). "NEEMO 12". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  29. NEEMO 12 Topside Team (May 6, 2007). "NASA - NEEMO 12 Topside Journal". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  30. NASA (July 24, 2007). "NASA Announces Next Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew". NASA. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  31. Topside Team (August 8, 2007). "NEEMO 13 Topside Report - Training Week". NURC. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  32. NASA (July 9, 2010). "NASA - NEEMO 14". NASA. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  33. Alexander, Aaron (2010). "Archive for the 'NEEMO 14' Mission". NURC. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  34. NASA (May 7, 2010). "NASA - NEEMO 14 Topside Report No. 1, May 7, 2010". NASA. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  35. NASA (September 19, 2011). "NASA - NASA Announces 15th Undersea Exploration Mission Date And Crew". NASA. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  36. NASA (October 27, 2011). "NASA - NEEMO 15 Topside Reports". NASA. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  37. NASA (April 16, 2012). "NASA - NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crews". NASA. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  38. Peake, Tim (April 29, 2012). "NEEMO 16 - In search of an asteroid". European Space Agency. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  39. The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (June 12, 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 2 - Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  40. Love, Stan (June 17, 2012). "Dr. Love's Underwater Blog: NEEMO 16". NASA. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  41. Squyres, Steve (June 17, 2012). "NEEMO 16: EVA Divers and Subs". NASA. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  42. Love, Stan (June 18, 2012). "Dr. Love's Underwater Blog: Mobility and Stability with DeepWorkers". NASA. Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  43. Stevenin, Hervé (June 19, 2012). "The NEEMO 16 Aquanauts meet the Men in Black". Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  44. http://www.nasa.gov/content/nasa-international-partners-plan-undersea-training-mission/#.VDlB_WccSUk
  45. Bergin, Chris (June 11, 2014). "NEEMO returns with two new underwater missions". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  46. http://hyspeedblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/aquarius-seatest-ii-astronauts-emerge-from-a-successful-underwater-mission/
  47. http://www.esa.int/About_Us/EAC/Herve_Stevenin
  48. "Crew of NEEMO 20 from NEEMO flicker album".
  49. "NASA Prepares for Future Space Exploration with International Undersea Crew". June 24, 2015.
  50. "NEEMO 20 to build knowledge base on delayed deep space communications, Chris Bergin, nasaspaceflight". July 6, 2015.
  51. Loff, Sarah (2016-07-22). "Aquanauts Splash Down, Beginning NEEMO 21 Research Mission". Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  52. Emily Toomey (July 29, 2019). "NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor". Smithsonian magazine.

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