6 Mission Specialist Tara Ruttley sets up a wireless position
note: Marc Reagan is the mission director for the NEEMO 6 mission.
This is the second in a series of daily reports documenting the
undersea activities of the NEEMO 6 crew and its Topside Team of
supporters in Key Largo, Florida.
At about 10:16
a.m. this morning, the NEEMO 6 crew had been in saturation for 24
hours. This is an exciting milestone for them because by definition,
they truly have become "aquanauts". Also, John joins a very small
and elite cadre of people including Scott Carpenter, Dave Williams,
Mike Gernhardt, Mike Lopez-Alegria, Dan Tani, Mike Fincke, Jeff
Williams, Scott Kelly, Rex Walheim, and Peggy Whitson to have both
flown in space and lived undersea.
The crew remains
in good spirits and has readily adapted to its new environment.
They had a challenging day with two separate PAO events, two "EVAs"
(which included working with our "MCC" team in Houston
using underwater comm), more unpacking, and several experiment activities.
The in-habitat experiments are sponsored by the Engineering Directorate's
Biomedical Systems Division at Johnson Space Center. All of these
experiments are being used to investigate new technologies or techniques
for improving the human experience in space. Most are probably early
versions of experiments that will be manifested soon to the International
Two of the
experiments today were focused on countermeasures - in other words,
countering the negative effects that the microgravity environment
in space has on the human body. On the Space Station, there are
basically three different kinds of exercise equipment: stationary
bikes, a treadmill, and resistive exercise devices which use bungees.
On this mission we are investigating a different kind of resistive
device - one that uses constant torque springs. The springs reside
in cartridges in 5- or 10- pound increments, and can just be easily
clipped into place. The aquanauts have about a dozen different exercises
to do several times during the mission to evaluate the usability
and durability of the device.
6 Mission Specialist Nick Patrick performs line pullover using
Constant Force Resistive Exercise Unit with Tara Ruttley spotting.|
The other countermeasure
investigation involves stretching. It's been found that if a stretching
force is held against a flexed muscle, when the muscle relaxes it
gets stretched more than it was previously. Keep the force on, resist
again and then relax, and it stretches more still. While this has
obvious benefits for flexibility, it seems to have benefits to muscle
strength as well. It also loads the bone, which helps keep the bones
strong. Thus, it becomes a countermeasure to the effects of microgravity.
The different muscles are stretched with the use of a strap that
can hook over a foot and be pulled by hand. The problem is that
when doing it in microgravity, the stretcher will be likely to start
rolling off and tumbling. We are hopeful that testing this in a
neutral buoyancy environment can give us some clues as to how best
to implement these techniques on orbit.
tested a wireless tracking system today. Knowing which module our
crewmembers are in (in space) could be very helpful in a life threatening
situation, for example. However, it's a complicated problem being
able to track the location of objects accurately using local sensors.
Today we tested a radio frequency system commonly used in hospitals
inside Aquarius. Aquarius, much like the ISS, is a metal-walled
cylinder. It also has the advantage of being extremely insulated
from outside radio interferences (being insulated by all the sea
water above) and is an ideal location for doing this type of evaluation.
Later in the mission we'll be doing a similar evaluation using an
optical (infrared) system.
following along and for your support!
- NEEMO 6