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IMAGE: NEEMO 3 aquanauts, from left: Greg Chamitoff, Jonathan Dory and Danny Olivas

NEEMO 3 aquanauts, from left: Greg Chamitoff, Jonathan Dory and Danny Olivas.

*NEEMO 3 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Danny Olivas

NEEMO Journals

NEEMO 3, Danny Olivas
Day 5, Friday, July 19, 2002

Today we finally got a break in the dive schedule. With all the diving we've been quads are getting pretty beat. So, I was happy about the break, but would have been just as happy with another dive. It's not too difficult to understand. Regardless of how tired and hungry I get, I regret having to come back to the Hab. It's one of those things that you just know you're gonna miss the next amazing thing, waiting right around the corner, if you go in now. If only you had just a few more minutes...just a few more seconds. My appreciation for safety (and air) always overrides, however, and in I go. I imagine that space walking will be similar. To be outside the space station...looking back at earth...not wanting the moment to end, but knowing that consumables drive everyone back. Can anyone say "analogous?"

Today's task was fairly simple...take down the structure we put up the day before. Building the structure might sound like a "do work" activity but the benefit for me went beyond the obvious. I think that was the intent was of the task designer. As Jonathan and I worked on digesting the procedures given to us a couple of weeks in advance, I gained a better appreciation of the term "thinking through a task." I was surprised to find, I had built the project so many times in my head (even without the benefit of having the parts in front of me), that when it came time to perform the task, it was as if I had actually built it several times before. When difficulties arose, I had already thought about what I would do, days before. For that, I think the task went well and I learned a lot.

As with most projects, tearing apart something is a much easier than putting it together, just ask any of my kids. Because we figured that it would take us only a short while to complete the task, we decided to take in a little site seeing before we started working. Greg and I went to a place known as "the ridge," which is not too far from the Hab. Jeff and Jonathan joined us soon after. All four of us took photos and video, horsing around this enormous barrel sponge. We also practiced dropping a reel line off the main excursion line, using our cave reels. It was a lot of fun.

By the time we got back to the Hab, we were met by most of the NEEMO 4 crew waiting just outside. Scott Kelly, Rex Walheim, and Jessica Meir visited us along with several of the topside crew. They had an opportunity to get the "once around" the Habitat both inside and out. I assume this was their opportunity to see a little of what their future home looked like. Byron and Mike run a pretty tight ship so I'm sure all was neat within the Hab.

In a way, I'm glad that our crew's first experience inside Aquarius was for "real." On the first day, I was like a kid in a candy store with sights, sounds, and senses, I've never experienced before. As a matter of fact, every day I roll out of the bunk... it still feels that way. This is another analogy to my life in the space business. I've been asked before why after four years of being in the Astronaut Office, have I yet to witness a shuttle launch in person. I know it sounds kind of dumb but I'm kind of hoping my first shuttle launch to see in person will be the one I'm on. Don't get me wrong, I've had many opportunities to attend but for whatever reason, I've never been at the Cape for an actual launch. I watch every launch on the tube or NASA select, but I'm kind of looking forward to having that "unwrapping a gift Christmas morning" kind of feeling when it's for real. But then again, if my job takes me there... then so be it.

Until that day comes...I am enjoying all that I am experiencing and trying to take away from it all that I can.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 06/09/2003
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