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NEEMO: | Home | Facilities | Teams | History | Journals | EVAs

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The Undersea Experience:
An Analog to Outer Space

"As an analog to the International Space Station (ISS), the Aquarius habitat is just about perfect ... When we are inside, it feels like we are onboard a remote outpost "

-- Astronaut Mike Fincke,
NEEMO 2 aquanaut,
May 20, 2002

IMAGE: Analog

IMAGE: NEEMO 7 Commander Robert Thirsk
Robert Thirsk, NEEMO 7 commander representing the Canadian Space Agency, participates in a training dive.
Related Links
*Thirsk Replaces Williams as NEEMO 7 Commander
*Aquarius Web site
*NEEMO 7 Imagery
*NASA Quest: Living in Extreme Environments
*NASA Crew's Underwater Research Focuses on Space
Past Missions
*NEEMO 6 Imagery
*NEEMO 5 Imagery
*NEEMO 5 Videos
*July 2004 News Release for NEEMO 6
*June 2003 News Release for NEEMO 5
* September 2002 News Release for NEEMO 4
* May 2002 News Release for NEEMO 2

NEEMO -- the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations program -- sends groups of NASA employees and contractors to live in Aquarius for up to three weeks at a time. For NASA, Aquarius provides a convincing analog to the International Space Station, and NEEMO crewmembers experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.


Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. Far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Fla., an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

Owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Aquarius operates 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is deployed next to deep coral reefs 62 feet (19 meters) below the surface.

The laboratory is most often used by marine biologists, for whom Aquarius acts as home base as they study the coral reef, the fish and aquatic plants that live nearby and composition of the surrounding seawater. Aquarius houses sophisticated lab equipment and computers, enabling scientists to perform research and process samples without leaving their underwater facilities.

More About NEEMO and Aquarius

Read more about the underwater habitat NEEMO crews call home.

Teams and Key Personnel
In addition to the underwater crew, several other teams and individuals support NEEMO.

NEEMO History
Several NEEMO teams have taken the plunge.

Most NEEMO aquanauts share highlights of their experience by writing a daily journal. Read some of the journal entries here, or go to the Aquarius Web site for a complete list.

Extravehicular Activities
Most underwater afficionados refer to them as "dives," but NASA regards the trips outside of Aquarius as analogs to spacewalking, or EVAs.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 07/25/2006
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