NASA NEEMO 12 Topside Report Mission Day 3

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


Mission Day 3 was a very busy day, featuring more tele-robotics activities, life sciences experiments, and educational outreach events.

The Space and Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) at Johnson Space Center sponsored a suite of activities for this mission. SLSD supports ongoing objectives from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) related to Behavioral Health and Performance (BHP). Other objectives are related to Expeditionary Medicine and ongoing immunology and nutrition studies.

The NSBRI/BHP objectives today focused on gathering data related to crewmember performance of critical tasks while stressed and fatigued. In the picture below, you see Heide with a Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) device, which measures fatigue. Also visible on the table is a clear bag which their daily saliva samples go into (used to measure cortisol, a stress marker, among other things.)

Another task related to Expeditionary Medicine (crew health care when they are located on the moon or Mars) was an emergency medical drill performed this morning. With Dr.Josef Schmid proctoring, the other crew members went through a series of medical emergency drills, providing primary care per procedures we plan to use in space. In the process, it provided data to validate revised Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocols.

NEEMO 12 offers a wonderful opportunity for children to learn more about space, nature, science, engineering and medicine. Today about 300 elementary school students and their teachers were invited to tour the Cincinnati Museum Center to participate in a live videoconference with the NEEMO 12 crew in the Aquarius habitat. The crew provided a video tour of the habitat, highlighted some of their research and took questions from students. An afternoon session was open to the general public and featured five local junior high school students who were winners of a robotic competition. These "student-surgeons" drove the robotic controls at the Cincinnati Museum Center, tele-surgically moving the arms of the robot in the undersea habitat. This allowed them to see first hand what it is like to live in such an extreme environment and how robotics can be used to support surgery in the future.

Finally, we made the RAVEN surgical robot do double duty as a lunar sample manipulator! Shown below is Mary Sue Bell, a planetary geologist from the Asrtomaterials Research and Exploration Sciences (ARES) Directorate at Johnson Space Center, as she tele-robotically manipulates simulated lunar samples inside Aquarius. This objective accomplishes several purposes. First, it demonstrates a multi-utilization of a single piece of robotic equipment; second, it shows one of several ways that lunar samples may be handled in order to avoid unnecessary human contamination. Finally, it demonstrates how scientists on Earth could remotely do sample processing through the night while the crew is asleep. These are all very important considerations for future planetary exploration.

Thanks for joining us,

-NEEMO 12 Topside Team

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