in EX14 suits, two NEEMO 7 crewmembers exchange greetings during a session of
7, Robert Thirsk
Day 1, Monday, October 11, 2004
"Wow" is the
first word that comes to mind as I reflect on my first day aboard
Aquarius. It seems as though laws of physics that were familiar
to me on the surface are strangely altered undersea. For instance,
I have a constant feeling of pressure in my ears. The voices of
my crewmates and I are ever so slightly "Donald Duck."
Instead of gazing on trees and grass when I look out the kitchen
window, I see schools of fish and the occasional aquanaut passing
The code of conduct for
aquanauts is also different. Billy and James, our "hab techs,"
briefed us on the unique aspects of undersea life. Aquarius is certainly
a confined and isolated habitat. There is a code of conduct to be
followed by each crewmember so that we can be neat, courteous, and
safe; and so that we will all still be the best of friends after
eleven mission days together. I do not feel claustrophobic. The
living area within Aquarius is something like that of a school bus
... plenty of space for all ... and the view out the window is spectacular.
The day has
been so full of activity: two dive excursions, unpacking bags of
hardware, setting up the computer network, and debugging some problems.
We have dealt with a couple of problems (the boat that took us out
to the habitat site had an engine problem, one of the camera housings
leaked) but also claimed a small victory -- Craig confirmed a good
robotic command link with Hamilton, Ontario.
I can already see that
it will be a major challenge to stay on the mission timeline. We
may run late during the first few days of the mission as we adapt
to this strange new world. When time gets short, we will have to
prioritize the most crucial activities and sacrifice timeliness
on the less important. Working with our topside support team, we
will sometimes need to make that difficult judgment call.
mission journal is short. The evening is late and we still need
to have a "crew tag-up" before bedtime. Gotta go!