Posted: Saturday, September 16, 2006
NASA Space Simulation and Training Project: NEEMO 11
Pricipal Investigator: Bill Todd
Exploration Scenario #1 Description
When NASA returns to the moon, one of the first tasks and priorities of the crew will be to perform a detailed survey of the immediate area surrounding the lunar base. This will be performed by EVA crew, but may be aided with the use of remotely operated vehicles. The crew will be tasked to document the surrounding topography and retrieve samples from various locations.
Suited in special dive equipment, two EVA crew will perform a very detailed survey of the bathymetry surrounding portions of the habitat. They will document the environment and work side by side with a remotely operated vehicle. During the exercise, they will be in communication with the Exploration Planning Operations Center (ExPOC).
Exploration Scenario #2 Description
When NASA returns to the moon, we will be utilizing remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to support our activities. However, to what extent is unknown. The ROVs may be more effective than humans at some tasks and less effective at others.
Part A of the task will have the extravehicular activity (EVA) crew locating a set of markers from different locations in a specific order, pausing for 1 minute and returning back to the habitat. Part B will perform the same function with an ROV. The entire exercise will be timed.
Exploration Scenario #3 Description
When NASA returns to the moon, it is quite possible that cargo ships will be sent separately to supply things such as consumables and construction equipment. It will be necessary for the crew to retrieve equipment from the cargo ship and return it to the lunar base. The crew will have to determine how to locate the cargo ship in an efficient manner working with the Mission Control Center.
Part A involves the ExPOC guiding the EVA crew to a specific location to retrieve the cargo ship contents. The cargo ship and crew will both be fitted with transponders for situational awareness. Part B involves the in-habitat crew member driving the ROV to another cargo ship with a different transponder also being guided by the ExPOC.
Center of Gravity Dives
NASA is in the early phases of designing the space suit for Lunar and Mars exploration. The Apollo moon walks demonstrated that the weight and center of gravity (cg) of the space suit and portable life support system backpack were important parameters affecting astronaut performance. To investigate the acceptable cg limits for future designs, the NASA EVA Physiology, Systems and Performance Project (EPSP) working in conjunction with the Crew and Thermal Systems engineers have developed a reconfigurable cg back pack that can be worn by divers on "sea walks." NEEMO divers will be weighed out at lunar gravity levels (1/6 of Earth's gravity), put on the reconfigurable backpacks and perform a series of tasks representative of planetary exploration. These tasks, performed under six different center of gravity configurations include: timed walks, jogs and runs, kneeling, falling and recovering, picking up rocks, shoveling and climbing ladders. At the conclusion of each activity, each diver will evaluate each of the tasks using a subjective scale to assess handling and controllability qualities.
Additionally during this mission, divers will wear the reconfigurable cg backpacks while performing the lengthier Exploration Scenario #2 and #3 activities wearing the most promising configurations based on results during the NEEMO 9 mission in April.
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