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NASA NEEMO 12 Topside Journal May 6, 2007

Status Report From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2007

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Greetings!

An intense training week for the 12th NEEMO mission has concluded successfully with all 4 crew members graduating from "Aquanaut Candidate" status to being officially signed off to start the mission on Monday, May 7. The crew will live for 12 days aboard Aquarius, the only operational undersea research habitat in the world. The Mission Commander is Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, a veteran Shuttle astronaut, accompanied by fellow astronaut Jose Hernandez and Dr. Joe Schmid, a NASA Flight Surgeon. Dr. Tim Broderick joins them with tele-surgery expertise from the University of Cinncinnati. Dr. Broderick is a veteran aquanaut, having participated as a crew member on the 18-day NEEMO 9 mission last year. James Talacek and Dominic Landucci, both professional aquanauts from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, round out the crew and will operate the Aquarius and oversee safety during the mission.

NEEMO 12 is being sponsored by the University of Cincinnati's (UC) Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI) in collaboration with the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and NASA. (TATRC is the cutting-edge medical technology center for the U.S. Army.) The Principal Investigator on this project is Charles Doarn from UC. The Mission Director is Marc Reagan, along with the rest of the Topside Team: NEEMO Project Lead Bill Todd, Monika Schultz, Alex Moore, Ron Stueber, Dan Sedej, Rick Sanchez, Pam Baskins, and Mary Sue Bell from JSC; Brett Harnett from UC, and Adrian Ecker from the NSBRI. Aquarius is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. It is located near Key Largo, Florida at the National Undersea Research Center (NURC).

The major goals of this mission are to 1) evaluate the use of tele-mentoring and tele-robotics in performing emergency diagnostic, surgical and interventional therapies in a confined and extreme environment (as found in space flight), 2) life sciences investigations related to spaceflight, including psychology, physiology, and hardware, and 3) investigate open questions and operational concepts that will enable NASA to return humans to the moon as part of the President's Vision for Space Exploration. In support of the 3rd objective, we will be using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), an aquanaut tracking system, a crew-based navigation device, lunar and Martian time delays and diving equipment to support surface-based EVAs (extra-vehicular activities).

A few photos from the training this week...

Image below: NEEMO 12 crewmembers and the topside team for the 12th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project take a break from training to pose for a group photo. Image credit: NASA

Image below: NEEMO 12 crewmembers make their way to their undersea habitat during a training session for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project. Image credit: NASA

We're looking forward to a great mission. We'll keep you informed as it unfolds!

- NEEMO 12 Topside Team

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