NASA NEEMO 12 Topside Report - Splashdown

Status Report From: NOAA Aquarius Undersea Laboratory
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2007


The NEEMO 12 crew successfully "splashed down" at 10:20 am Monday to start their 12-day mission aboard Aquarius.

The day was very busy as they tackled 2 orientation dives, safety briefings on their new home, and getting all of their gear unpacked, set up, and stowed. Previous crews have compared the pace of the day to their first hours on space missions. These activities went smoothly even getting ahead on the timeline and objectives at times which was a testimony to the preparation the crew and topside team put into this mission.

One of the serious challenges facing NASA as we look at design requirements for a future lunar base is answering the question of how much habitable volume will be required. Aquarius makes a great analog for helping answer this question. In the photo below you can see Joe and Tim unpacking and stowing gear in their bunkroom. All 6 bunks for the 6 aquanauts are visible. Each has a very small volume of space in the wall of their bunk for all of their personal things.

One of the "extra-vehicular activities", or EVAs, was a general survey and orientation of the landscape of their new home. From the attached map you can see lines which represent ropes suspended across the landscape to provide sure, direct navigation back home to Aquarius in case of an emergency, as well as to provide obvious boundaries to their working area in the Carpenter Basin (named in honor of the nation's first aquastronaut, Scott Carpenter) where Aquarius is situated. The shaded areas are the 3 primary work sectors for this mission.

Each NEEMO mission incorporates some Educational Outreach events in conjunction of NASA's Digital Learning Network, and NEEMO 12 is no exception. Below you'll see Jose working with the plant germination experiment. Visit the Digital Learning Network, where you'll find a list of webcast events you could watch if interested, and even a link to submit your own questions! Thanks for following along.

-NEEMO 12 Topside Team

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