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IMAGE: NEEMO 7  Mission Specialists Mike Barratt and Cady Coleman

Mike Barratt and Cady Coleman review a NEEMO procedure manual while aboard Aquarius.

*NEEMO 7 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Mike Barratt

NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7, Mike Barratt
Day 2, Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Well, it's official; analogous to hitting the 50-mile altitude mark to earn your astronaut wings, we have completed the required training to the National Undersea Research Center's satisfaction and survived our first night in the hab. We are now officially aquanauts. Actually, I would have to say that I slept better last night than the last several, and perhaps for the last several years. This place does not exactly rock you to sleep, but I am happily imaging that it does awaken some primal memories. The last time I slept underwater was the night before I was born, and although quite some time has gone by, I think that was a peaceful rest as well. Here on top of the weariness of the long day there is warm food and white noise from the fans; and watching the fish swim under the lights near the view-port in the bunkroom has a pleasantly sedative effect.

And then there is the smell of coffee, which while good anywhere seems somewhat sharpened and enhanced here. In some of the more recently painted structures, the smell of paint is quite strong, something the Habitat Techs attribute to the high pressure. My theory is that the higher atmospheric pressure gives rise to a higher partial pressure of the 'aromagens,' and that the sense of smell is more dependent on this absolute pressure than the proportion. Perhaps Mr. Nose adapts to this and starts to turn down the gain so that all is evened out again after a few days, but at this point I hope not.

The reef was fairly stunning today, with 100 ft measured visibility. Unfortunately our communications link was nonfunctional for the first sortie, which was originally oriented toward testing comm between the divers and our support team at the Mission Control Center in Houston. (These folks are known as the ExPOC, for Expedition Program Operations Center.) Bob and I were quickly given an alternate task, to map out the deep south excursion line south of the 'Pinnacle' site for length and bathymetry, or depth contour. We took advantage of the opportunity to stretch out and swim, since we had some distance to cover and except for stepping outside like this, exercise is limited. Lots of life; it's a jungle out there!

The second sortie I did with Cady, and the comm link functioned nicely. We got a start on mapping comm quality at the northeast site using the Aquarius Habitat's single sideband transponder and our own self-carried units. Amazing how clear this could be; just gotta remember not to be blowing out bubbles when a message is coming in. We had what seemed like a too short excursion when we had to fly on home, doff gear, rinse off the sea and go perform a gall bladder removal. Spaceflight is all about shifting gears quickly, so this is probably a good scenario. This is one of the telementored/telerobotic surgical experiments from the Center for Minimal Access Surgery in Hamilton, Ontario. Dr. Mehran Anvari was able to talk me through the ligation and removal of a gall bladder using laparoscopy and a surgical robotic arm as an assistant. This of course has implications for spaceflight, where we may not have a surgeon on board and would rather not risk a spaceship ride home. Fortunately the mannequin pulled through, though I admit I was a bit nervous, for me it was rather like disarming a bomb. Probably had something to do with the media on the other end of the line in Canada. Craig, our resident surgeon and co-investigator, has been working like a madman prepping equipment and tending the network, but thus far is very happy with his network and technology.

Finally winding down again, sitting by the window and watching/being watched by the natives. Still lots of paper work and data logging to do, but already looking forward to that bunk. G'night from down under.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 10/18/2004
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