Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
NASA's third mission this year to an undersea laboratory off the Florida coast began when four astronauts splashed down Sept. 16.
Veteran space flyer astronaut Sandra H. Magnus is leading the crew on a seven-day undersea mission Sept. 16 - 22 onboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Aquarius underwater laboratory. Army Lt. Col. Timothy L. Kopra, Army Col. Timothy J. Creamer and Air Force Maj. Robert L. Behnken round out the astronaut crew. Roger Garcia and Larry Ward of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington are providing engineering support inside the habitat. All four astronauts are training for possible assignment to missions to the International Space Station.
During the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 11, astronauts will imitate moonwalks, testing concepts for mobility using various spacesuit configurations and weights to simulate lunar gravity. Techniques for communication, navigation, geological sample retrieval, construction and using remote-controlled robots on the moon's surface also will be tested.
Through NASA's Digital Learning Network (DLN), classrooms will be able to videoconference with Aquarius. Students will conduct experiments of their own before talking with the aquanauts.
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