Follow this link to go to the text only version of
NASA -National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Follow this link to skip to the main content
+ Text Only Site
+ Site Help & Preferences

+ Home
+ NASA Home > Mission Sections > NEEMO > NEEMO 9
Print ThisPrint This
Email ThisEmail This

NEEMO 9 CDR Dave Williams
Training Week Journal

JSC2006-E-12403 Ron Garan Thursday, March 30, 2006

Image to left: Ron Garan prepares for “splashdown” to start his stay inside the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory. Mark “Otter” Hulsbeck and Otto Rutten look on. Credit: NASA

The fatigue is beginning to build and I slept right through to the wake-up call at 7 a.m. We had watched the launch of the expedition crew last night before we went to bed and it brought back memories of flying on STS-90. There may be a possibility that we will get a chance to talk to Jeff Williams and Bill McArthur in space from Aquarius and we are very excited about the potential opportunity. There was more time for breakfast and other activities today before we started our briefings at 8:30. Otter started by giving us a virtual tour of Aquarius which is available online ( We talked about all of the different Aquarius systems throughout the habitat and discussed a number of guidelines for living in the habitat. After a quick break Otter continued the briefing with a review of all of the habitat emergency procedures. He gave us a great overview of what gets done if there is a loss of air supply, loss of environmental control unit, loss of electrical power, or fire and smoke within the habitat. As in the case of spacecraft, the habitat systems have a history of being reliable and have a lot of built-in redundancy to ensure continuity of life support capability in the event of an emergency. With two dives planned for the afternoon, we did not have much time for a break as we got our dive gear together while grabbing a quick bite to eat. By 11:45 we were on our way to Aquarius to dive with our new communications masks and become more familiar with the excursion lines around the habitat. We departed the dive boat by the northeast mooring and swam down to the gazebo that is at the end of the northeast excursion line. The gazebo looked like a large inverted barrel positioned above a platform with windows in both sides. Two at a time, we swam onto the platform and stood up in the gazebo with our shoulders and head in air and the rest of our body in the water. It was an interesting experience talking to one another and looking out the windows into the ocean while standing on the bottom at 60 feet!! The gazebos have a communications link back to the habitat and a fill port for us to fill our SCUBA tanks. We practiced using the high pressure fill port and left the gazebo to buddy breathe with the communications masks while we swam towards the habitat. The communication masks enclose both your face and mouth and the regulator has an oval pod attached to it that enables it to be clipped in front of your mouth. With normal use, the space in front of your mouth is clear of water and you can swim, talk and breathe – all at the same time!! To buddy breathe, we hand the regulator back and forth to each other but don’t clip the pod to the mask. Once at the habitat we practiced more air sharing drills and finished the dive after 55 minutes. We surfaced to debrief the first dive and give ourselves enough time to get rid of the excess nitrogen in our blood before starting our second dive to practice using the communication masks. With the masks turned on, we used the push-to-talk switch to talk to each other. It was much easier to hear the other person if you are not breathing, but you can’t hold your breath forever so we started speaking by calling the other person’s name three times to get their attention. Otter gave us a tour of different excursion lines and we went into the wet porch of Aquarius to chat. We finished the dive after 36 minutes to avoid decompression while surfacing. After a short debrief we returned to NURC and had 30 minutes to get changed, wash our equipment and get ready for our next briefing on the diving helmet. This fiberglass helmet is similar in many ways to the helmet of a spacesuit and enables us to breathe air from an umbilical supply and have communications back to Aquarius. Instead of swimming, we will walk around the bottom in the helmet using enough weight to simulate the one-sixth gravitational environment of the Moon. Tomorrow we will get to practice with them!

 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 14
"Scuttle bunny was flying around the reef at quite a pace with test pilot Ron at the controls."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 13
"But what a sight after we turned off our lights. Bioluminescent creatures ... lit up the sea around us."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 12
"We're sitting at the galley table writing our journals and as usual we're distracted by the beauty out the galley view port."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 11
"As the sun began to set in the world above, I swam into the wet porch feeling very much a resident of the reef."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 10
"It was pretty exciting to me to be here living and working on Aquarius on the 25th anniversary of STS-1."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 9
"As I write this a large sea turtle just decided to park its belly on our main view port (where I'm presently sitting)."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 8
"This marks the first time in human history an entire robotic surgical platform was transported to an extreme environment ... and was manipulated successfully from afar."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 7
"There is nothing quite like the transition from a warm bed to a cold wetsuit to wake you up in the morning!"
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 6
"The EEG net leaves a particularly attractive series of marks on the subject's head-- looks like we have been kissed by an octopus."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 5
"It's ... incredible to watch the sunset from 47 feet beneath the surface."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 4
"Today was a day filled with outreach events, both 'educational' (to school children) and 'public affairs' (to media)."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 3
"One of the highlights of the day was our videoconference with Jeff Williams and Bill McArthur on the International Space Station."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 2
"Today at 10:38 a.m. Ron Garan, Nicole Stott, and Tim Broderick joined an elite group of people in this world who have spent 24 hours under the sea in 'saturation,' making them the world's three newest aquanauts."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Mission Journal Number 1
"I'm looking forward to my first night of 'sleeping with the fishes.'"
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Training Journal Number 6
"The mission as planned will be the most complex and longest NEEMO and Aquarius mission to date."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Training Journal Number 4
"Ross ... intentionally swam Nicole and I around in circles to try and get us lost. He did a pretty good job!"
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Training Journal Number 3
"The pace is beginning to pick-up with more diving tasks being added every day."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Training Journal Number 2
"On our way out, we saw a pod of dolphins which started following the boat and leaping out of the waves."
+ Read More
 NEEMO 9 Training Journal Number 1
"Today was our first day of training in our final week before the mission."
+ Read More
+ Back to Top

FirstGov - Your First Click to the US Government

+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
and Accessibility Certification

+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories
Editor: Amiko Kauderer
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: April 21, 2006
+ Contact NASA
+ SiteMap