The NEEMO 6
crewmembers began their mission in the Aquarius habitat in the Florida
Keys on July 12. They ascended to the surface from the coral reef
ending their underwater stay on July 21. During this period the
crew studied its underwater surroundings, engaged in science on
the human body, evaluated future equipment for the Space Station
and prepared for living and working in space.
NEEMO 6 crew, from left, are Commander John Herrington and Mission
Specialists Tara Ruttley, Nicholas Patrick, and Doug Wheelock.|
NEEMO 6 objectives
included support for NASA's new Vision for Space Exploration. The
objectives also sought to simulate International Space Station (ISS)
activities as future Expedition crews train for their stint onboard
the orbiting platform.
The NEEMO 6
crew practiced long-duration space habitation in an underwater facility
known as Aquarius off the coast of Key Largo, Fla. The Aquarius
is similar in size to the Zvezda Service Module, which is the living
quarters for the Space Station. As the Station grows in size and
complexity, new equipment proposed for the ISS will require engineering
evaluations. NEEMO 6 conducted some of these evaluations. Attention
was given to anti-microbial and wireless tracking technologies as
well as exercise equipment. Crewmembers also exited the Aquarius
on diving excursions simulating spacewalks and built underwater
structures analogous to ISS assembly activities.
research was performed on the human body in anticipation of the
body's response to microgravity. Living in microgravity for days
or months can cause a number of physiological, psychological and
behavioral changes, both during flight and after landing. Crewmembers
also studied the coral reef surrounding their habitat in the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary.