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IMAGE: NEEMO 7 Mission Specialist Craig McKinley
Equipped in SCUBA gear, Dr. Craig McKinley of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario, prepares for a training dive.
*NEEMO 7 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Mike Barratt

NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7, Mike Barratt
Day 7, Sunday, October 10, 2004

A couple days off from journal writing, mostly for making time for the many details we need to chase. Our topside team took a day out of the condo, taking advantage of the final opportunity to get away before being glued to the mission timeline and monitors. Friday's dive from the pitching deck of the Research Diver was another milestone; more drills and further familiarization with the outside of the habitat and surrounding area. Because of the heavier seas, 4 to 6 ft, we did only one dive and covered lots of ground along some of the set excursion lines. Being so anxious to get inside the hab, these dives almost resemble sub-orbital flights; they are great experiences, but we want so much to get there and stay!

We had our first view of the "Waterlab" structure following Friday's dive, assembled on land; it will be one of our jobs to re-assemble this on the sea floor out in front of the habitat. Picture a flimsy jungle gym constructed of PVC pipe and galvanized bolts. We worked out some plans and preferences, and resolved to construct ourselves some tools of convenience. It's good to have Craig McKinley, a trained surgeon on the team, someone accustomed to taking things apart and putting them back together. Oh yeah, he also has an engineering background. I still wager he will want to send a small piece of PVC off to a pathology lab to find out what this really is. Currently, the Waterlab is in neat organized bundles tie-wrapped and bungeed together. The next time we see it, it should be on the sand patch in about 60 feet of water off the stern of the habitat. The plan is flawless - at least on paper.

We spent more of the weekend getting our mission documents and procedures in order and cramming on experiments and protocols. We have also tried to glean a bit more knowledge of the coral science world under the tutelage of Leanne Rutton. There is a striking similarity between this scenario and the field geology taught to the Apollo astronauts prior the lunar mission. While not being experts in the field by any means, we will try to use some observational skills and the modicum of knowledge given to us to collect some information the scientists can use. Another prominent lesson we hear repeatedly is to not touch or disturb the reef. We will work to observe and learn maximally while impacting minimally, which is also not a bad mindset to have for exploring the Solar System.

And so to bed; tomorrow we splash, and any further work on the tan will just have to wait.

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