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NEEMO 7

For astronauts living in space, coping with medical emergencies far from a hospital or trained doctor can be a difficult and dangerous task. During future missions to the moon and Mars, crewmembers' health and mission success will depend upon their ability to deal with these emergencies with the help of a doctor on Earth. This challenge is the focus of an upcoming NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations expedition, NEEMO 7.

IMAGE: NEEMO 7 Mission Specialist Dr. Craig McKinley
Equipped in SCUBA gear, NEEMO 7 Mission Specialist Dr. Craig McKinley of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario, prepares for a training dive.
"Astronauts navigating between planets won't be able to turn around and come home when someone gets sick, and this undersea mission will help chart a course for long-distance healing that can span such vast distances," said NEEMO Mission Director Bill Todd.

"Aquarius, with its physical and psychological isolation on the floor of the Atlantic, will provide the real stresses needed to validate telemedicine in an extreme environment," Todd said.

In October, during a two-week stay in Aquarius, two NASA astronauts, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut and a Canadian doctor will test telerobotic technology while performing surgery on a simulated patient. They will work remotely with colleagues at the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) at St. Joseph's Hospital, in Hamilton, Ontario.

According to Dr. Mehran Anvari, CMAS director, NEEMO 7 will demonstrate and evaluate innovative remote technologies and procedures for remote surgery. Anvari, based in Hamilton, Ontario, will use two-way telecommunication links to guide the aquanauts through diagnosis and surgery on a mock patient inside Aquarius. Another simulation will involve virtual reality control technology to guide telerobotic surgery on the mock patient.

Crewmembers will also perform scheduled dives, sampling and monitoring the watery environment around the underwater habitat.

Mission CommanderRobert ThirskInterview
Mission SpecialistCady ColemanInterview
Mission SpecialistMike Barratt Interview
Mission SpecialistCraig McKinley  
Mission DirectorBill Todd  


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 10/13/2004
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