Status Report

NASA NEEMO Topside Report – Mission Day 1 Monday, April 3, 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
April 8, 2006
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NASA NEEMO Topside Report – Mission Day 1 Monday, April 3, 2006

We’re happy to report that the NEEMO 9 crew safely “splashed down” at 10:38 EDT this morning to start its record-breaking 18-day mission. Actually, that’s true of all of the crewmembers except the two NURC “habitat technicians,” Jim Buckley and Ross Hein. They were there a couple of hours earlier ensuring the habitat was ready to receive the others.

The crewmembers had a very busy day today, which included two dives, safety briefings on their new home, and getting all of their gear unpacked, set up, and stowed. Previous crewmembers have compared the pace of the day to their first hours on space missions. These activities went more smoothly than ever before – a testimony to the preparation the crew and support team put into this mission.

Several experiments started today, all sponsored by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Among other things they will measure group dynamics, performance under stress, and team cohesion using a variety of methods, from video analysis to surveys to saliva sample analysis. Another is a vest which Dave and Ron will wear, called an “Ambulatory Monitoring System”, which measures a wide range of physiological conditions.

One experiment addresses the fact that astronauts commonly experience sleep and circadian rhythm disruption during spaceflight. Both of these conditions are associated with insomnia, and can impair performance. Using a special light/motion sensor worn on the wrist and called an “Actiwatch”, we can monitor sleep-wake activity patterns and light exposure on all NEEMO crewmembers. Eventually we hope to use this science to better understand and combat similar conditions seen among crewmembers of the space shuttle and International Space Station.

SpaceRef staff editor.