An Analog to Outer Space
an analog to the International Space Station (ISS), the Aquarius habitat is just
about perfect ... When we are inside, it feels like we are onboard a remote outpost
-- Astronaut Mike Fincke,
NEEMO 2 aquanaut,
May 20, 2002
Thirsk, NEEMO 7 commander representing the Canadian Space
Agency, participates in a training dive.|
NEEMO -- the NASA Extreme
Environment Mission Operations program -- sends groups of NASA employees and contractors
to live in Aquarius for up to three weeks at a time. For NASA, Aquarius provides
a convincing analog to the International Space Station, and NEEMO crewmembers
experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.
the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans
to live. Far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Fla., an underwater laboratory
called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks
at a time.
by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University
of North Carolina at Wilmington, Aquarius operates 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles)
off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is deployed next
to deep coral reefs 62 feet (19 meters) below the surface.
laboratory is most often used by marine biologists, for whom Aquarius acts as
home base as they study the coral reef, the fish and aquatic plants that live
nearby and composition of the surrounding seawater. Aquarius houses sophisticated
lab equipment and computers, enabling scientists to perform research and process
samples without leaving their underwater facilities.
About NEEMO and Aquarius
Read more about the underwater habitat NEEMO crews call home.
and Key Personnel
In addition to the underwater crew, several other
teams and individuals support NEEMO.
Several NEEMO teams have taken the plunge.
Most NEEMO aquanauts share highlights of their experience by writing a daily journal.
Read some of the journal entries here, or go to the Aquarius Web site for a complete
Most underwater afficionados refer to them as "dives,"
but NASA regards the trips outside of Aquarius as analogs to spacewalking, or