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IMAGE: NEEMO-7 Mission Specialist Mike Barratt
Astronaut/Aquanaut Mike Barratt, NEEMO-7 Mission Specialist records dive data while aboard the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory.
*NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7, Topside Team
Day 3, Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Things are going full bore now in our mission, both in Aquarius and topside. While NEEMO all along has been modelled to be an ISS analog, we were challenged recently by Bill Readdy (Associate Administrator of Space Operations at NASA) to design ways to make this an exploration analog, given NASA's new Vision for Exploration. So one of the "side" activities going on today focused on exercising different possibilities as an exploration analog.

For NASA, exploration is focused on getting us back to the Moon and on to Mars. We have been trying to educate ourselves on what would really be entailed upon taking up residence on a new planet. It probably will be very much like living on the sea floor: physical isolation from the rest of humanity, good virtual connection back to home (telephone, videoconferencing, etc.), limited diet, and absolute reliance on the life support systems you brought with you. Fortunately, the Advanced Ops Cadre at JSC, who have supported every NEEMO mission since NEEMO 2 are helping again. They are tasked to assess advanced ops capabilities which will enable us to fulfill this vision, and they double as our "Mission Control" during NEEMO missions.

Today Bob and Cady dove in U.S. Navy EX-14 hard hat dive suits. These make a great analog to space suits because the mobility inside is more limited than normal scuba gear, the hat is roomy with good visibility, and due to buoyancy effects, the crewmember feels like gravity has been reduced. We can make the apparent gravity like that on the Moon, Mars, or even zero! This has been a huge addition to our capabilities on NEEMO missions, and we are very grateful to the Navy for its support. While Bob and Cady were diving the EX-14s, the Topside Team were there videotaping and photographing as they went through the paces of different representative activities one might do upon arriving at an alien planet. Tomorrow and Saturday we'll add a Remotely Operated Vehicle and a surface rover to the mix - but more on that later!

Today the last of our aquanauts completed the first round of the "CSA Robo" experiment. CSA Robo is an experiment to assess the degradation in robotic operator skills and how those skills recover with practice. As you know, without frequent practice, complex skills such as those necessary to operate Canadarm2 (the ISS robotic arm) will slowly degrade over time. Using robotic hand-controllers identical to those on the ISS and software running on a laptop that simulates the ISS Canadarm2, this experiment assesses robotic operator skill degradation and recovery dynamics in a space analog environment. Information gained from this experiment will one day help robotics trainers determine the frequency and type of in-flight training necessary to keep astronauts performing at their peak. During the second session of this experiment, which will run near the end of the mission, much of the simulation software will be running on a computer based in Canada at CSA. This scenario mimics ISS crewmembers training on with a simulator that is ground-based. Determining whether such time delays are reasonable in training is a major part of this experiment.

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