3 aquanauts, from left: Greg Chamitoff, Jonathan Dory
and Danny Olivas.
3, Danny Olivas
Day 5, Friday, July 19, 2002
Today we finally
got a break in the dive schedule. With all the diving we've been
doing...my quads are getting pretty beat. So, I was happy about
the break, but would have been just as happy with another dive.
It's not too difficult to understand. Regardless of how tired and
hungry I get, I regret having to come back to the Hab. It's one
of those things that you just know you're gonna miss the next amazing
thing, waiting right around the corner, if you go in now. If only
you had just a few more minutes...just a few more seconds. My appreciation
for safety (and air) always overrides, however, and in I go. I imagine
that space walking will be similar. To be outside the space station...looking
back at earth...not wanting the moment to end, but knowing that
consumables drive everyone back. Can anyone say "analogous?"
was fairly simple...take down the structure we put up the day before.
Building the structure might sound like a "do work" activity
but the benefit for me went beyond the obvious. I think that was
the intent was of the task designer. As Jonathan and I worked on
digesting the procedures given to us a couple of weeks in advance,
I gained a better appreciation of the term "thinking through
a task." I was surprised to find, I had built the project so
many times in my head (even without the benefit of having the parts
in front of me), that when it came time to perform the task, it
was as if I had actually built it several times before. When difficulties
arose, I had already thought about what I would do, days before.
For that, I think the task went well and I learned a lot.
As with most
projects, tearing apart something is a much easier than putting
it together, just ask any of my kids. Because we figured that it
would take us only a short while to complete the task, we decided
to take in a little site seeing before we started working. Greg
and I went to a place known as "the ridge," which is not
too far from the Hab. Jeff and Jonathan joined us soon after. All
four of us took photos and video, horsing around this enormous barrel
sponge. We also practiced dropping a reel line off the main excursion
line, using our cave reels. It was a lot of fun.
By the time
we got back to the Hab, we were met by most of the NEEMO 4 crew
waiting just outside. Scott Kelly, Rex Walheim, and Jessica Meir
visited us along with several of the topside crew. They had an opportunity
to get the "once around" the Habitat both inside and out.
I assume this was their opportunity to see a little of what their
future home looked like. Byron and Mike run a pretty tight ship
so I'm sure all was neat within the Hab.
In a way, I'm
glad that our crew's first experience inside Aquarius was for "real."
On the first day, I was like a kid in a candy store with sights,
sounds, and senses, I've never experienced before. As a matter of
fact, every day I roll out of the bunk... it still feels that way.
This is another analogy to my life in the space business. I've been
asked before why after four years of being in the Astronaut Office,
have I yet to witness a shuttle launch in person. I know it sounds
kind of dumb but I'm kind of hoping my first shuttle launch to see
in person will be the one I'm on. Don't get me wrong, I've had many
opportunities to attend but for whatever reason, I've never been
at the Cape for an actual launch. I watch every launch on the tube
or NASA select, but I'm kind of looking forward to having that "unwrapping
a gift Christmas morning" kind of feeling when it's for real.
But then again, if my job takes me there... then so be it.
day comes...I am enjoying all that I am experiencing and trying
to take away from it all that I can.