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NEEMO 7
IMAGE: NEEMO 7 Mission Specialist Cady Coleman
Astronaut/Aquanaut Cady Coleman waves from the bottom of the sea during a training session for the NEEMO 7 project.
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*NEEMO 7 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Cady Coleman

NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7, Mike Barratt
Day 3, Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Dive training Day Three, and we have further expanded our comfort zones. Otter (Mark Hulsbeck when he signs his checks, but pretty much Otter the rest of the time) and Ross went over the unlikely habitat emergencies and how we would recover. We also did land exercises to simulate finding the excursion lines which run out in several directions from the habitat, should we ever become separated in low visibility or in the event of a dive mask loss or failure. Then back to the vessel Research Diver while toting gear and shedding crumbs from the sandwiches we inevitably grab on the fly.

You guessed it; our first dive consisted of a mask-off drill where a twosome, myself and crewmate Cady Coleman, had to tie off a reel and sweep out a big circle until we intercepted one of the excursion lines. Traversing a reef without a mask is not so bad, if you don't mind swimming through a Picasso painting looking for something that's more usable than artistic. At one time I started to swim toward what I thought was one of the floats which keeps the excursion lines off the bottom, but gave this up when it swam away. But we eventually stumbled onto the yellow line, and a few feet along the length identified one of the large orange arrows with the definitively palpable shape pointing toward the habitat. A quick point of the arm to indicate "that way," and we were awarded our masks back. A handshake from Otter meant that our chances of surviving the mission had just increased another few percent.

After a few more shut-off drills and buddy breathing exercises (why did I even bring that dive mask?), Cady and I were treated to a quick trip down the excursion from the training area toward Aquarius Central. It was nearly prophetic to see that yellow structure materialize out of the murk, nearly enveloped in a cloud of colorful fish who love living on the outside. I, of course, can't wait to live on the inside, although our crew is not nearly so picturesque. Another five days to splashdown, so we will have to be patient for now.

We had an evening lecture on coral reefs and methods of measuring size and characteristics in specific areas, part of the on-going study of the Conch Reef that surrounds the Aquarius Habitat. The stick-with-you quote of the day from Leanne, the coral scientist, "Keep your eyes open; you never know what might be spawning out there!" Will do. Hope we can bring back some useful science for these folks.


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 10/29/2004
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