Barratt and Cady Coleman review a NEEMO procedure manual
while aboard Aquarius.
7, Mike Barratt
Day 2, Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Well, it's official;
analogous to hitting the 50-mile altitude mark to earn your astronaut
wings, we have completed the required training to the National Undersea
Research Center's satisfaction and survived our first night in the
hab. We are now officially aquanauts. Actually, I would have to
say that I slept better last night than the last several, and perhaps
for the last several years. This place does not exactly rock you
to sleep, but I am happily imaging that it does awaken some primal
memories. The last time I slept underwater was the night before
I was born, and although quite some time has gone by, I think that
was a peaceful rest as well. Here on top of the weariness of the
long day there is warm food and white noise from the fans; and watching
the fish swim under the lights near the view-port in the bunkroom
has a pleasantly sedative effect.
And then there is the
smell of coffee, which while good anywhere seems somewhat sharpened
and enhanced here. In some of the more recently painted structures,
the smell of paint is quite strong, something the Habitat Techs
attribute to the high pressure. My theory is that the higher atmospheric
pressure gives rise to a higher partial pressure of the 'aromagens,'
and that the sense of smell is more dependent on this absolute pressure
than the proportion. Perhaps Mr. Nose adapts to this and starts
to turn down the gain so that all is evened out again after a few
days, but at this point I hope not.
The reef was fairly
stunning today, with 100 ft measured visibility. Unfortunately our
communications link was nonfunctional for the first sortie, which
was originally oriented toward testing comm between the divers and
our support team at the Mission Control Center in Houston. (These
folks are known as the ExPOC, for Expedition Program Operations
Center.) Bob and I were quickly given an alternate task, to map
out the deep south excursion line south of the 'Pinnacle' site for
length and bathymetry, or depth contour. We took advantage of the
opportunity to stretch out and swim, since we had some distance
to cover and except for stepping outside like this, exercise is
limited. Lots of life; it's a jungle out there!
The second sortie I
did with Cady, and the comm link functioned nicely. We got a start
on mapping comm quality at the northeast site using the Aquarius
Habitat's single sideband transponder and our own self-carried units.
Amazing how clear this could be; just gotta remember not to be blowing
out bubbles when a message is coming in. We had what seemed like
a too short excursion when we had to fly on home, doff gear, rinse
off the sea and go perform a gall bladder removal. Spaceflight is
all about shifting gears quickly, so this is probably a good scenario.
This is one of the telementored/telerobotic surgical experiments
from the Center for Minimal Access Surgery in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dr. Mehran Anvari was able to talk me through the ligation and removal
of a gall bladder using laparoscopy and a surgical robotic arm as
an assistant. This of course has implications for spaceflight, where
we may not have a surgeon on board and would rather not risk a spaceship
ride home. Fortunately the mannequin pulled through, though I admit
I was a bit nervous, for me it was rather like disarming a bomb.
Probably had something to do with the media on the other end of
the line in Canada. Craig, our resident surgeon and co-investigator,
has been working like a madman prepping equipment and tending the
network, but thus far is very happy with his network and technology.
down again, sitting by the window and watching/being watched by
the natives. Still lots of paper work and data logging to do, but
already looking forward to that bunk. G'night from down under.