NEEMO 14 Topside Report No. 2, May 10, 2010
As of 1000 am EST this morning, the 14th NEEMO mission is underway. The crew was transported to the Aquarius undersea habitat aboard the R/V Bond to begin their exciting 14-day adventure.
After a weekend of final preparations for the mission, the crew took the one hour ride out to Conch Reef and the Aquarius Reef Base on a relatively calm day this morning. Prior to entering the habitat, they spent 30 minutes being photographed for their official crew mission picture. Chris, Tom, Steve and Andrew stayed in the water column as James and Nate looked out from the viewport. James and Nate, the professional Aquanauts from UNCW/ARB, arrived at the habitat a few hours earlier to get the systems up and running.
After smiling for the camera underwater, the crew immediately headed into their new home to begin safety briefs and unpack for their two-week stay. Much of their equipment had been taken to the habitat in the previous days in a process we call "potting," named after the large pressure-tight containers, or pots, used to ship electronics and other equipment to the habitat.
After a mid day meal, the crew began their afternoon extravehicular activities (EVAs). These consisted of hour-long orientation dives using the superlite diving hats with which they have trained in the last week.
The evening was filled with planning conferences with the "topside" team, life science experiments, and testing and setup of various types of equipment and computers.